Ripple Effect Study
We are working on a project that is examining the relationships of adolescents with ADHD. The project is focusing on how 13-18 year old adolescents with ADHD view their relationships with peers, romantic partners and parents. We have completed our data collection. During this process we have asked parents of adolescents with ADHD about their parenting practices, parenting stress and their involvement in their children’s education. We have interviewed 123 adolescents (67 with a previous diagnosis of ADHD and 56 without) in individual testing sessions. Adolescents were asked to complete academic tasks and fill out questionnaires about their relationships with others. Additionally, parents completed questionnaires about their experiences of being a parent and their interactions with their adolescent. Currently, we are working on data analysis and we hope the results of our research will assist parents, teachers, professionals, and the adolescents themselves, in developing positive relationships and family dynamics for these youth.
Mindfulness for Youth with ADHD and Their Parents
Adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have difficulty regulating their attention, behavior, and emotions, which negatively impacts peer and family relationships. Mindfulness training may strengthen self-regulatory processes. The goal of the dissertation was to evaluate whether and how concurrent parent-adolescent mindfulness training improves individual and family functioning in adolescents with ADHD. Eighteen adolescents with ADHD (ages 13-18) and 17 parents participated. Participants completed questionnaires assessing adolescent symptoms, functional impairment, family functioning, parenting stress, and mindfulness at 4-week baseline, pre- and post-intervention, and at 6-week follow-up. A subset of five families (n=12 individuals) participated in semi-structured interviews about their lived experiences of mindfulness 1 – 3 months after the intervention. Parents reported reductions in adolescent inattention, conduct problems, and peer relations problems, decreases in parenting stress, and increases in mindful parenting after the intervention. Gains were maintained at 6-week follow-up. Adolescents did not report changes on quantitative measures. Thematic analysis of interview data revealed improved peer and family relationship quality after mindfulness training. The underlying mechanisms of action were consistent among parents and adolescents. They identified self-awareness, decentering, acceptance of others, and self-regulation of attention, behavior, and emotion as key components of the process of change. A mixed methods evaluation was performed suggesting that mindfulness training reduces ADHD symptoms and improves interpersonal functioning via enhanced self monitoring, self regulation, and emotional co-regulation among adolescents with ADHD and their parents.