Illuminating the daily life experiences of adolescents with and without ADHD: protocol for an ecological momentary assessment study

BMJ Open. 2023 Sep 29;13(9):e077222. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-077222.


Introduction: Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk of a range of difficulties, among which emotion regulation, peer and co-occurring mental health problems are prominent challenges. To better support adolescents with ADHD, ecologically valid interventions that can be embedded in daily life to target the most proximal antecedents of these challenges are needed. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) designs are ideally suited to meeting this need.

Methods and analyses: In the mental health in the moment ADHD study, we will use an EMA design to capture the daily life experiences of approximately 120 adolescents aged 11-14 years with a clinical diagnosis of ADHD and the same number of age-matched and gender-matched peers without a diagnosis of ADHD. We will combine this with comprehensive information gathered from online surveys. Analysing the data using techniques such as dynamic structural equation modelling, we will examine, among other research questions, the role of emotion regulation and peer problems in mediating the links between characteristics of ADHD and commonly co-occurring outcomes such as anxiety, depression and conduct problems. The results can help inform interventions to support improved peer functioning and emotion regulation for adolescents with ADHD.

Ethics and dissemination: This study received a favourable ethical opinion through the National Health Service ethical review board and the University of Edinburgh PPLS Research Ethics panel. The results will be disseminated through journal publications, conferences and seminar presentations and to relevant stakeholders, such as those with ADHD, their families and clinicians.

Keywords: Adolescent; Anxiety disorders; Child & adolescent psychiatry; Depression & mood disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / diagnosis
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Mental Health
  • State Medicine