Combined working memory and parenting intervention for adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity

Institution: University of Notre Dame

Investigator(s): Dawn M. Gondoli, Bradley Gibson, Kristin Valentino

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: ADHD impacts approximately 3-8% of children and adults. Children with ADHD struggle academically and exhibit behavioral and interpersonal problems at school, with peers, and at home. ADHD is associated with negative interactions between parents and children. Parents of children with ADHD are less responsive, more negative, and more emotionally over-reactive. They have trouble managing child behavior and disciplining the child. The symptoms characteristic of ADHD in children and adolescents (e.g., inattentiveness, hyperactivity, oppositional behavior, school problems), bring about and help maintain negative and ineffective patterns of parenting and parent-child relations. These negative family relations put children and adolescents with ADHD at greater risk for antisocial problems. Thus, in addition to finding effective treatment for the child’s ADHD symptoms, it is also vital to ameliorate co-occurring impairments such as problematic parenting and parent-child conflict.
In the current study, researchers will evaluate the combined effectiveness of Cogmed Working Memory Training and a behavioral training program for the improvement of parenting, Community Oriented Parenting Education (COPE; Cunningham, Bremner, & Boyle, 1995) for adolescents with ADHD. Parent training programs such as the COPE program improve parent-child relationships, reduce parent stress, and strengthen appropriate parental structure and nurturance within families affected by ADHD. Parenting education and training programs, although not targeting the core deficits of ADHD, might be productively be combined with interventions that address the neurocognitive underpinnings of ADHD such as low WM. Researchers will investigate whether the novel combination of these two treatments will produce stronger, wider-ranging, and longer-lasting positive outcomes for adolescents and parents than will either treatment alone.

Population & Sample Size: N = 120 mother-adolescent dyads, ages 11 -14 years

Design: Randomized, placebo controlled, blinded, test-retest, 3 month follow-up