Attendance and engagement in parent training predict child behavioral outcomes in children pharmacologically treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and severe aggression

Heather M. Joseph, Cristan Farmer, Heidi Kipp, David Kolko, Michael Aman, James McGinley, L. Eugene Arnold, Kenneth D. Gadow, Robert L. Findling, Brooke S.G. Molina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: We examined the association of parent training (PT)-related factors with therapeutic success in the Treatment of Severe Childhood Aggression (TOSCA) study. Our aims were (1) to evaluate demographic and clinical characteristics as predictors of parent attendance and engagement in PT and (2) to examine the associations of parent attendance and engagement in PT with study-targeted child behavior outcomes (i.e., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and disruptive behavior symptoms). TOSCA was a randomized clinical trial evaluating the effect of placebo versus risperidone when added to PT and psychostimulant for childhood ADHD with severe aggression. Methods: Data for 167 parents and children 6-12 years old with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder, and severe physical aggression were examined. Analyses used generalized linear models. Results: Most parents (72%) attended seven or more of nine sessions. The average parental engagement, that is, the percentage of PT elements fully achieved across participants and sessions, was 85%. The average therapist rating of goal completion was 92%. Parents of non-white and/or Hispanic children (p = 0.01) and children with lower intelligence quotient (p = 0.02) had lower PT attendance; parents with lower family incomes (p = 0.01) were less engaged. Attendance and engagement predicted better scores on the primary child behavior outcomes of disruptive behavior (Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form Disruptive Behavior Total) and ADHD and ODD symptoms, adjusting for baseline severity. Conclusions: When the clinical picture is sufficiently severe to warrant prescribing an atypical antipsychotic, PT is feasible for families of children with ADHD and co-occurring severe aggression. The promotion of attendance and engagement in PT is important to enhance clinical outcomes among this challenging population. Methods for overcoming barriers to participation in PT deserve vigorous investigation, particularly for those with low family income, non-white race, Hispanic ethnicity, or when children have lower cognitive level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • aggression
  • antipsychotic
  • parent training
  • stimulant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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