Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Beverly J. Wilson

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Thane Erickson

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Anne B. Arnett


Methylphenidate (MPH) is a common stimulant medication that has demonstrated efficacy in treatment among individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as those with co-occurring oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms (Connor et al., 2002, Cortese et al., 2018). However, there are currently no known reliable markers to predict response to MPH (Kim et al., 2015) and current approaches rely on trial-and-error by patients. Electroencephalographic (EEG) methods show promise as one tool to identify and predict MPH response. The current study examined relations between EEG frequencies and perceived response to MPH across both ADHD and ODD symptoms utilizing caregiver report on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms and Normal Behaviors (SWAN; Swanson et al., 2012). Participants included 30 children with ADHD (70% male) between the ages of 7 -11 years (MAge = 121.27 months, SD = 16.47 months) and their primary caregivers. Children’s absolute power frequencies were gathered during a resting state EEG paradigm. Caregivers completed measures regarding their child’s medication history, and retrospectively rated their child’s ADHD and ODD symptoms across pre-MPH and optimal MPH dosage timepoints. Results indicated that alpha frequency was marginally predictive of SWAN scores at optimal-MPH dosage while controlling for SWAN scores prior to MPH (p = .058). No other frequency bands examined demonstrated significant relations. Given the small sample size and low statistical power of this study, the results may underestimate relations between EEG frequencies and SWAN scores. These findings provide preliminary support for EEG spectral power as a potential predictor of MPH response, lending credence for future investigation and potential clinical utility.