Parenting and family stress treatment outcomes in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): an empirical analysis in the MTA study

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2000 Dec;28(6):543-53. doi: 10.1023/a:1005131131159.


Parenting and family stress treatment outcomes in the MTA study were examined. Male and female (579), 7-9-year-old children with combined type Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), were recruited at six sites around the United States and Canada, and randomly assigned to one of four groups: intensive, multi-faceted behavior therapy program alone (Beh); carefully titrated and monitored medication management strategy alone (MedMgt); a well-integrated combination of the two (Comb); or a community comparison group (CC). Treatment occurred over 14 months, and assessments were taken at baseline, 3, 9, and 14 months. Parenting behavior and family stress were assessed using parent-report and child-report inventories. Results showed that Beh alone, MedMgt alone, and Comb produced significantly greater decreases in a parent-rated measure of negative parenting, Negative/Ineffective Discipline, than did standard community treatment. The three MTA treatments did not differ significantly from each other on this domain. No differences were noted among the four groups on positive parenting or on family stress variables. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical and empirically documented importance of negative parenting in the symptoms, comorbidities and long-term outcomes of ADHD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Negativism
  • Parenting*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants