Online program helps families of pre–schoolers with ADHD

September 29, 2016
Online program helps families of pre–schoolers with ADHD
Credit: University of Queensland

A University of Queensland online program has been shown to alleviate children's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and parents' stress.

UQ Parenting and Family Support Centre Director and study co-author Professor Matt Sanders said a University of Auckland study trialed Triple P Online, a self-directed, interactive currently available free to Queensland families.

Professor Sanders said the study lent support to international clinical guidelines advocating that families of pre-school children with signs of ADHD should access evidence-based parenting programs before medication is prescribed.

"This is the first study in the world to demonstrate that an online program can generate improvements for these families,'' Professor Sanders said.

The study, conducted by University of Auckland Faculty of Education and Social Work researchers Dr Nike Franke and Dr Louise Keown, involved 53 New Zealand families with children aged three or four with extreme levels of hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

Parents had access to the Triple P Online program for 16 weeks, plus two phone consultations to help tailor strategies to their family situation.

After taking part in the trial, parents reported significantly lower levels of stress and depression and greater parenting satisfaction.

Many parents reported feeling more confident in their parenting skills, and that their child's behaviour was much easier to manage.

"Coping at home with pre-schoolers who show these extreme behaviours can be very challenging and stressful for parents,'' Dr Franke said.

"They can also have difficulties in social situations with their peers, and parents can feel embarrassed ashamed, and blame themselves.''

Dr Keown said the results of the trial highlighted the potential benefits of an online parenting program as an early intervention for preschool ADHD, and for parents of these children.

"ADHD behaviours are associated with long-term problems such as difficult relationships with parents, teachers and peers, and poor academic performance, so it is best to intervene as early as possible,'' Dr Keown said.

"An effective online program means parents can get help in their own homes easily and anonymously which is what many parents want.''

Triple P Online is part of the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program system of programs developed by Professor Sanders and fellow UQ researchers.

Triple P programs, including Triple P Online, are available free to Queensland families, funded by the Queensland Government.

The study was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders.

Explore further: Parenting course adapted for dads benefits the whole family

More information: N. Franke et al. An RCT of an Online Parenting Program for Parents of Preschool-Aged Children With ADHD Symptoms, Journal of Attention Disorders (2016). DOI: 10.1177/1087054716667598

Related Stories

Parenting course adapted for dads benefits the whole family

July 2, 2015

Participation in parenting programs has traditionally been more likely to involve women, but new research suggests adapting The University of Queensland's Triple P – Positive Parenting Program can increase fathers' engagement ...

Parents see sibling fighting as normal

June 2, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Three out of four Australian parents are concerned about their children fighting yet claim their kids get along well, a University of Queensland study has found.

Recommended for you

Children with ADHD often live in chaotic households

March 9, 2017

Researchers often observe inadequate parenting, a negative emotional climate and household chaos in families of children with ADHD. A research group at Goethe University Frankfurt and the universities of Bremen, Heidelberg, ...

Could the 'Mediterranean' diet help prevent ADHD?

January 30, 2017

(HealthDay)—Kids who follow a Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables and "good" fats—may be less likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a small study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.