Parent-based therapies for preschool attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a randomized, controlled trial with a community sample

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;40(4):402-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200104000-00008.


Objective: To evaluate two different parent-based therapies for preschool attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a community sample.

Method: Three-year-old children displaying a preschool equivalent of ADHD (n = 78) were randomly assigned to either a parent training (PT; n = 30), a parent counseling and support (PCO&S; n = 28), or a waiting-list control group (n = 20). The PT group received coaching in child management techniques. The PC&S group received nondirective support and counseling. Measures of child symptoms and mothers' well-being were taken before and after intervention and at 15 weeks follow-up.

Results: ADHD symptoms were reduced (F2,74 = 11.64; p < .0001) and mothers' sense of well-being was increased by PT relative to both other groups (F2,74 = 10.32; p < .005). Fifty-three percent of children in the PT group displayed clinically significant improvement (chi 2 = 4.08; p = .048).

Conclusions: PT is a valuable treatment for preschool ADHD. PC&S had little effect on children's behavior. Constructive training in parenting strategies is an important element in the success of parent-based interventions. Psychostimulants are not a necessary component of effective treatment for many children with preschool ADHD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Treatment Outcome