A best-worst scaling experiment to prioritize caregiver concerns about ADHD medication for children

Psychiatr Serv. 2015 Feb 1;66(2):208-11. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300525. Epub 2014 Nov 17.


Objective: The objective of this feasibility study was to develop and pilot an instrument to elicit caregivers' priorities when initiating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication for their child.

Methods: A best-worst scaling experiment was used to rank competing priorities when initiating ADHD medicine. Forty-six participants were recruited for a two-phase study involving survey development (phase 1, N=21) and the survey pilot (phase 2, N=25). Best-worst scores and 95% confidence intervals indicating the relative importance of 16 concerns were determined, and t tests were used to determine the scores' significance.

Results: The significance of best-worst scores for most concerns indicated that the choices were purposeful. Concerns about helping the child become a successful adult, having a doctor who addresses caregivers' concerns, and improving school behavior were ranked highest.

Conclusions: The best-worst scaling method can elicit priorities for children's mental health treatment. Future work using this method will guide family-centered care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Pilot Projects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants