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A Family-Centered Approach to Planning and Measuring the Outcome of Interventions for Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Charles E. Cunningham
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Charles E. Cunningham, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Evel 137, Chedoke Campus, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada.
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
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      This paper discusses a set of closely related parenting and family factors that should be considered when planning and measuring the outcome of interventions for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These include parenting and parent-child relationships, parental cognitions, parental adjustment, marital interactions, general family relationships, and adaptive child functioning within the family. The measurement of each construct is discussed, and comparative, longitudinal, and treatment outcome studies using these measures are reviewed. It is concluded that measures of treatment outcome for children with ADHD could be improved by utilizing multiple informants, developing tools with greater content and contextual validity, relying more on observational methods, and identifying those measures which are of greatest importance to families. Given the multiple pathways via which both psychosocial and pharmacological interventions exert their influence, composite measures combining multi-informant, multimethod constructs may represent more useful measures of treatment outcome than measures of primary ADHD symptoms.

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