Efficacy of the Incredible Years Programme as an early intervention for children with conduct problems and ADHD: long-term follow-up

Child Care Health Dev. 2008 May;34(3):380-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2008.00817.x.


Background: This study examined the long-term efficacy of the Incredible Years (IY) BASIC Parenting Programme delivered as a preventive intervention with parents of pre-school children who display signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct problems. Families were followed up after the completion of a controlled trial with 11 Sure Start areas in North and Mid-Wales and North West England.

Methods: Participants in the study were 50 pre-school children whose parents had received the intervention. Child ADHD symptoms were assessed at baseline, at follow-up one (6 months after baseline); at follow-up two (12 months after baseline); and at follow-up three (18 months after baseline). Families in the original waiting-list control group were not assessed after follow-up one as they had subsequently received the same intervention.

Results: The significant post-intervention improvements in child ADHD symptoms evident at follow-up one were maintained over time, as demonstrated by statistical and clinical stability of measures. No significant differences were found for ADHD symptoms across each follow-up, indicating that the gains made post intervention were maintained for at least 12 months, with 57% of the sample maintaining scores below the clinical cut-off on the Conners. Eighty-six, 58, and 30 per cent respectively had maintained at least a modest, large, or very large improvement in ADHD symptoms at follow-up three.

Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that the IY psychosocial treatment programme is a valuable intervention in the longer term for many pre-school children displaying early signs of ADHD.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / education*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational / methods
  • Early Intervention, Educational / standards*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / education*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom