Determined the effect size for nonstimulant medications on symptoms of overt aggression-related behaviors in referred children and adolescents with serious emotional and behavioral disturbances.
A review of the literature between 1970 and 2001 revealed 33 studies meeting exclusion/inclusion criteria and yielding 37 independent effects for neuroleptic, atypical antipsychotic, mood stabilizer, antidepressant, and adrenergic agents on symptoms of overt aggression. Group 1 received medications for severely ill children (neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, etc...), while Group 2 received medications for less severely ill children (antidepressants). Overall weighted mean effect sizes were moderate to large for overt aggression within a heterogeneous group of psychiatric disorders. Moderators of effect size included drug group, study design, and the interaction between drug group and study design.
The results support common clinical practice of including medications as part of a comprehensive psychoeducational treatment plan for some youth with maladaptive overt aggression within a variety of psychiatric disorders; however, not all referred youth respond to medication for overt aggression-related behavior, supporting the use of additional nonmedication interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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