Objective: It is necessary for both clinicians and researchers who study attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to obtain a medication history for patients/participants for a variety of purposes. Because of the complexity of constructing medication histories using official records, parental report of medication for children with ADHD is the most commonly used source of information. However, the reliability and validity of parent reports of medication history have not been thoroughly studied. Previous studies have only examined the psychometrics of interview assessments of medication use for a maximum of a 12 month recall period. The current study compares parent report provided by a questionnaire and physician records for children and adolescents with ADHD. This is the first study to examine validity of retrospective recall for an extended medication history (prekindergarten-12th grade) using a questionnaire, and the first to examine validity of parental report of dosage.
Methods: Participants with ADHD were part of the Pittsburgh ADHD Longitudinal Study. The current study utilized data from those in the ADHD group who had at least 1 year of data from the physician's records and corresponding records from the parent (n=178).
Results: Percent agreement for medication use was >80%. Intraclass correlation coefficients for parent-provider agreement on total daily dosage of ADHD medications were in the good to excellent range. There were no significant predictors of agreement.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that it is acceptable for clinics and research studies to obtain information about medication use for children with ADHD retrospectively solely based on parental report.