Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic and pervasive disorder characterised by problems in attention, impulse control and activity regulation that substantially burdens patients, families, and society. ADHD is often associated with challenging behaviours that can induce negativity, even in parents who would otherwise cope well. The efficacy of behavioural training for parents of children with ADHD symptoms is well established, however it is less clear which type of parenting intervention should be offered, and which aspects of parenting behaviour to focus on. Support for parents of children with an ADHD diagnosis may represent a critically different sort of intervention, as there may not be a problem residing in the parents’ style (e.g. they may already have other children and have experienced no need for parenting support). Empowering parents and increasing parental sense of competence may be a crucial first step in reducing many of the negative impacts of ADHD, including long-term quality of life. It is not established whether an intervention designed specifically for families of children with a diagnosis will be more effective and cost effective than less specifically-targeted interventions.
Parents In Control (Parents InC) offers specific support around empowerment, information and behaviour management specific to ADHD, as well as understanding of the child's development context. Parents InC has been used for a number of years in Scotland and has been evaluated, with promising results, but with relatively small sample sizes, no long-term follow-up, no economic evaluation and, most crucially, no comparison to an alternative intervention or to a control group. We now need to understand if it: i) is at least as effective as the current best-evidenced alternative, Incredible Years, in impacting children's behaviour outcomes; ii) is cost-effective; and iii) offers something helpful and unique compared to other parenting programmes in terms of parenting self-competence and quality of life.
The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility and likely size of a substantive randomised controlled trial comparing an AHDH specific parenting intervention to a diagnostically less-specific parenting intervention (Incredible Years).
Specific objectives are to test:
(1) whether parents of children recently diagnosed with ADHD are willing to be randomised to Parents InC or IY;
(2) whether sufficient numbers of families can be (a) recruited and (b) retained such that a full-scale RCT is likely to be feasible;
(3) whether research procedures and efficacy measures are feasible and acceptable to participating families (including health economic measures and consent to link to routine datasets);
(4) whether families participating in Parents InC achieve similar scores on the parenting sense of competence scale at 12 months post randomisation as those in the comparison arm (Incredible Years);
(5) Whether the two intervention arms significantly differ on any other measures; and (6) the mean cost per participant of Parents InC.