Duke Flags Lowered: C. Keith Connors, Noted Researcher of Hyperactive Children, Dies

C. Keith Conners, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a leading scholar of hyperactive children, passed away on July 5.

Conners received his master’s degree from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and his PhD in clinical psychology from Harvard University. After completing his postdoctoral training, he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins, where he began his research in the area of hyperactivity and impulsivity in children.

Conners later joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and George Washington University School of Medicine before coming to Duke in 1989.  

During his early career, Conners analyzed data from clinical trials on d-amphetamine (Dexedrine) and later conducted the first trial of methylphenidate (Ritalin).  His research also resulted in the development of the Conners’ Parent and Teacher Rating scales, which remain among the most widely used and well-validated assessment instruments for evaluating Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Conners also played an important role in most every important treatment outcome study pertinent to ADHD, including the landmark Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD, considered by many as the most comprehensive and influential study in child psychiatry. He founded the Journal of Attention Disorders and was the recent recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and the Mental Health Research Association.

Read more in an obituary published in The New York Times.