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Parental Influence on Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: II. Results of a Pilot Intervention Training Parents as Friendship Coaches for Children

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Abstract

We report findings from a pilot intervention that trained parents to be “friendship coaches” for their children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Parents of 62 children with ADHD (ages 6–10; 68% male) were randomly assigned to receive the parental friendship coaching (PFC) intervention, or to be in a no-treatment control group. Families of 62 children without ADHD were included as normative comparisons. PFC was administered in eight, 90-minute sessions to parents; there was no child treatment component. Parents were taught to arrange a social context in which their children were optimally likely to develop good peer relationships. Receipt of PFC predicted improvements in children’s social skills and friendship quality on playdates as reported by parents, and peer acceptance and rejection as reported by teachers unaware of treatment status. PFC also predicted increases in observed parental facilitation and corrective feedback, and reductions in criticism during the child’s peer interaction, which mediated the improvements in children’s peer relationships. However, no effects for PFC were found on the number of playdates hosted or on teacher report of child social skills. Findings lend initial support to a treatment model that targets parental behaviors to address children’s peer problems.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Because of concerns raised by reviewers about the validity of changes in playgroup sociometric measures over the treatment period, they were not analyzed as primary outcomes. However, little change was suggested over the course of the three playgroups on sociometric measures overall, for either intervention-group or control-group children.

  2. We note that, because parents were nested into six treatment groups, we also considered that treatment effects might be correlated between parents in the same PFC group. However, because the proportion of variance at the PFC group level for all outcome measures was low (all <5%, most <1%), accounting for the nested structure of parents into PFC groups was not needed (Raudenbush and Bryk 2002).

  3. When full information maximum likelihood methods were not used for analyses, the significance level of PFC on the dependent variable of parent SSRS changed to F(1,111) = 3.85; p = 0.052. The effect of PFC on the other primary dependent variables of conflict and disengagement on playdates (QPQ) and classroom peer acceptance and rejection (DSAS) all remained significant at p < 0.05 when full information maximum likelihood methods were not used.

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Acknowledgement

This research was supported by NIMH grant 1R03MH12838 to Amori Mikami. We would like to thank the children, parents, and teachers who participated, and the schools and doctors who provided referrals for this study. We are grateful to the graduate students who served as therapists on this project: Jennifer Cruz, Jena Saporito Fisher, and Tara Grover. We also appreciate the consultation of Betsy Hoza and Linda Pfiffner on the therapeutic intervention.

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Correspondence to Amori Yee Mikami.

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Mikami, A.Y., Lerner, M.D., Griggs, M.S. et al. Parental Influence on Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: II. Results of a Pilot Intervention Training Parents as Friendship Coaches for Children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 38, 737–749 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9403-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9403-4

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