Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Reductions in Negative Parenting Practices Mediate the Effect of a Family-School Intervention for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Reductions in Negative Parenting Practices Mediate the Effect of a Family-School Intervention for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Article excerpt

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) display difficulties with attention and behavior regulation (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) that are associated with significant impairment across the home and school settings. Students with ADHD have consistently been shown to exhibit academic underachievement, impaired peer relationships, disruptive classroom behavior, and increased homework difficulties (Barkley, 2006; DuPaul & Stoner, 2013; Frazier, Youngstrom, Glutting, & Watkins, 2007; Power, Werba, Watkins, Angelucci, & Eiraldi, 2006). These school difficulties in turn contribute to increased risk of school failure (Kern et al., 2007), higher risk of dropping out of school, and reduced participation in postsecondary education (Barkley, Murphy, & Fischer, 2008). Although school-based behavioral interventions have been effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, effects on academic functioning have been modest (DuPaul, Eckert, & Vilardo, 2012; DuPaul & Stoner, 2013) and interventions have not typically addressed homework difficulties.

In addition to student-related difficulties, families of children with ADHD have been shown to have increased difficulty supporting their children's education (Rogers, Wiener, Marton, & Tannock, 2009). This may be especially important as family involvement in education has been associated with children's school engagement, attitudes toward school, and academic performance (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). For children at risk for educational difficulties, such as those with ADHD, the quality of the family-school relationship may serve as a protective factor (Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). In addition, parenting practices, which influence the quality of parent-child attachments, are known to have an effect on child self-regulation and the ability of students to succeed in school (Pianta, 1997). As such, multimodal treatments that include a focus on strengthening the family-school relationship, forming family-school problem-solving partnerships, and improving parenting practices may be especially useful in promoting academic success among students with ADHD (Power, Karustis, & Habboushe, 2001).

A number of researchers have developed multimodal treatments in an effort to improve the functioning of children with ADHD in the home and school settings. These include the landmark Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD (MTA; Wells et al., 2000), as well as family-school interventions with multiple components including parent training (Abikoff et al., 2004; Pfiffner et al., 2007), daily report cards (Abikoff et al., 2004; Owens, Murphy, Richerson, Girio, & Himawan, 2008), organizational skills training (Abikoff et al., 2013), social skills training (Abikoff et al., 2004), and teacher consultation (Owens et al., 2008; Pfiffner et al., 2007). Although such programs have demonstrated reductions in ADHD symptoms and impairments, as well as improvements in child relationships with parents and teachers, and have provided preliminary evidence of the importance of negative parenting practices in relation to such changes, limitations include (a) a lack of focus on promoting family involvement in education and providing systematic homework interventions and (b) a lack of emphasis on promoting family-school problemsolving partnerships.

THE FAMILY-SCHOOL SUCCESS PROGRAM

The Family-School Success program (FSS) was developed to address the limitations of previous multimodal treatments through its focus on improving family involvement in education and family-school partnerships. Specifically, FSS is a 12-session family-school intervention designed to improve parenting practices, family involvement in education, family-school collaboration, and student homework and academic performance. In addition to behavioral parent training (e.g., frequent opportunities for child-directed play, use of token economy systems, strategic use of punishment), which has demonstrated strong evidence of effectiveness in treating children with ADHD (Evans, Owens, & Bunford, 2014), FSS includes three educationally focused intervention components: conjoint behavioral consultation (CBC), daily report cards, and systematic homework interventions (Power et al. …

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