Pediatric Annals

CME Article 

Safety and Efficacy of Psychosocial Interventions Used to Treat Children with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder

Steven W. Evans, PhD; Brandon K. Schultz, EdS; Joanna M. Sadler, BS

Abstract

Children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience impairments that can result in poor long-term outcomes in academic achievement and relationships with peers and family members. The most frequently used treatment for ADHD is stimulant therapy; however, stimulant therapy does not relieve some ADHD-related impairments, appears ineffective in reducing behavioral symptoms in up to 30% of cases, and is rejected or abandoned by a significant proportion of youths and caregivers. As a result, research on psychosocial treatments has progressed, as detailed in several recent reviews. This article provides a brief synopsis of psychosocial interventions for childhood ADHD, with an emphasis on basic behavior management principles, evidence-based interventions, and safety issues. We also highlight developmental issues that distinguish psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents, as well as provide practical recommendations for collaborating with mental health professionals.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Steven W. Evans, PhD, is Alvin V. Baird Jr., Centennial Chair of Psychology, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brandon K. Schultz, EdS, is Director of Clinical Services, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University. Joanna M. Sadler, BS, is a Graduate Student at James Madison University.

Address correspondence to Steven W. Evans, PhD, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, MSC 9013, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, or email evanssw@jmu.edu.

Dr. Evans, Mr. Schultz, and Ms. Sadler have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Identify safety risks associated with using psychosocial interventions to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  2. Describe methods for providing parent training, including specialized training focused on homework management for adolescents.
  3. Describe the current status of interventions targeting social functioning as well as those targeting academic impairment.

Abstract

Children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience impairments that can result in poor long-term outcomes in academic achievement and relationships with peers and family members. The most frequently used treatment for ADHD is stimulant therapy; however, stimulant therapy does not relieve some ADHD-related impairments, appears ineffective in reducing behavioral symptoms in up to 30% of cases, and is rejected or abandoned by a significant proportion of youths and caregivers. As a result, research on psychosocial treatments has progressed, as detailed in several recent reviews. This article provides a brief synopsis of psychosocial interventions for childhood ADHD, with an emphasis on basic behavior management principles, evidence-based interventions, and safety issues. We also highlight developmental issues that distinguish psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents, as well as provide practical recommendations for collaborating with mental health professionals.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Steven W. Evans, PhD, is Alvin V. Baird Jr., Centennial Chair of Psychology, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brandon K. Schultz, EdS, is Director of Clinical Services, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University. Joanna M. Sadler, BS, is a Graduate Student at James Madison University.

Address correspondence to Steven W. Evans, PhD, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, MSC 9013, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, or email evanssw@jmu.edu.

Dr. Evans, Mr. Schultz, and Ms. Sadler have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Identify safety risks associated with using psychosocial interventions to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  2. Describe methods for providing parent training, including specialized training focused on homework management for adolescents.
  3. Describe the current status of interventions targeting social functioning as well as those targeting academic impairment.

Children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience impairments that can result in poor long-term outcomes in academic achievement and relationships with peers and family members. The most frequently used treatment for ADHD is stimulant therapy; however, stimulant therapy does not relieve some ADHD-related impairments, appears ineffective in reducing behavioral symptoms in up to 30% of cases, and is rejected or abandoned by a significant proportion of youths and caregivers. As a result, research on psychosocial treatments has progressed, as detailed in several recent reviews. This article provides a brief synopsis of psychosocial interventions for childhood ADHD, with an emphasis on basic behavior management principles, evidence-based interventions, and safety issues. We also highlight developmental issues that distinguish psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents, as well as provide practical recommendations for collaborating with mental health professionals.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Steven W. Evans, PhD, is Alvin V. Baird Jr., Centennial Chair of Psychology, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Brandon K. Schultz, EdS, is Director of Clinical Services, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, James Madison University. Joanna M. Sadler, BS, is a Graduate Student at James Madison University.

Address correspondence to Steven W. Evans, PhD, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center, MSC 9013, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, or email evanssw@jmu.edu.

Dr. Evans, Mr. Schultz, and Ms. Sadler have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

  1. Identify safety risks associated with using psychosocial interventions to treat children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  2. Describe methods for providing parent training, including specialized training focused on homework management for adolescents.
  3. Describe the current status of interventions targeting social functioning as well as those targeting academic impairment.

10.3928/00904481-20080101-03

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