Parent Training for Preschool ADHD in Routine, Specialist Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Objective: Parent training is recommended for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschool children. Evidence-based interventions are important, but only if they produce better outcomes than usual care. Method: The authors conducted a multicenter, 2-arm, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial in routine specialist ADHD clinics in the Danish Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Children (N = 164, 3–7 years old) with ADHD received a well-established parent training program (New Forest Parenting Programme; n = 88) or treatment as usual (n = 76). The primary outcome was parent ratings of child ADHD symptoms. Secondary outcomes included teacher ratings and direct observations of ADHD symptoms. Outcomes were measured at baseline, after treatment, and at follow-up (36 weeks later). Representativeness of participants was evaluated against the total national cohort of children (N = 1,378, 3–7 years old) diagnosed with ADHD during the same period using the Danish Civil Registration System. Statistical analysis used a repeated measure model. Results: After treatment, the parent training program was superior to treatment as usual on parent-rated ADHD symptoms (p =.009; effect size d = 0.30) and on parenting self-efficacy and family strain. Effects persisted to 36 weeks after treatment. There were no effects on teacher ratings or direct observations of ADHD or on ratings of conduct problems or parenting. The clinical sample was similar to the national cohort of young children with ADHD. Conclusion: Evidence-based parent training has value as an intervention for preschool ADHD in routine clinical settings. As in previous trials, effects were restricted to parent-reported outcomes. Surprisingly, there were no effects on child conduct problems. Clinical trial registration information: A Controlled Study of Parent Training in the Treatment of ADHD in Young Children (D'SNAPP).; NCT01684644.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)593-602
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

    Research areas

  • attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, preschool, psychosocial, Randomized Controlled Trial, routine care

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