Parents with ADHD
Adults with ADHD face many concurrent challenges in family life and parenting. Many report difficulties in coordinating the practical aspects of everyday family life. Others describe high parental stress and low parental self-efficacy. Our project aims at increasing knowledge on the connections between ADHD and parenting, as well as the types of support that are helpful for parents with ADHD.
Parenting in the context of parental ADHD is a relatively unexplored area. In a report that was carried out on behalf of the National Board of Health and Welfare (Swedish only), we have summarized information collected from parents with ADHD, professionals in relevant fields, and scientific literature. There was a clear need for scientifically evaluated interventions developed and adapted specifically for parents with ADHD.
Below, we describe three projects whose overarching focus is parenting, stress, and interventions in families where the parents themselves have ADHD or ADHD symptoms.
Parental Stress Scale translated into Swedish
Parenthood is often described as both rewarding and challenging. Parents in families where one or more family member have a disability tend to report elevated levels of parental stress. Adequate assessment instruments are needed to detect parental stress and to monitor the effects of family support interventions. The Parental Stress Scale (PSS) is a self-report questionnaire used internationally to measure parental stress. We have translated the scale into Swedish and are now evaluating PSS in families of children with and without disabilities in Sweden. In the same study, we examine whether there is an association between self-reported parental ADHD symptoms and levels of parental stress.
Parental ADHD and psychoeducation about children’s ADHD
When a child receives an ADHD diagnosis, parents are usually offered psychoeducation, such as a course on the diagnosis, treatment options, and strategies to facilitate everyday family life. We evaluated how this kind of course functions for families where not only the child but also the parent(s) have ADHD symptoms. This study was conducted in cooperation with the ADHD Center, Habilitation & Health in Region Stockholm, and 549 parents participated. The results showed that parents who reported high ADHD symptom severity were as satisfied with the course as parents with low symptom severity. They completed the course and increased their ADHD knowledge to the same extent.
IPSA: a parent training program for parents with ADHD
Improving Parenting Skills Adult ADHD (IPSA) is a new parent training (PT) program developed and adapted for parents with diagnosed ADHD. IPSA is aimed at parents who want to develop their use of effective parenting strategies to strengthen the relationship and reduce the risk of conflict with their child (3-11 years of age). The program was co-developed in collaboration with parents with ADHD, and combines structured group sessions with individually tailored occupational therapist support. After promising results in a small-scale program feasibility study, we are now evaluating the efficacy of IPSA in a randomized controlled trial (RCT; the recruitment of new participants is now closed). The project has been carried out in collaboration with the ADHD Center, Habilitation & Health, Region Stockholm.
To spread the knowledge and know-how from our projects to a wider audience, we are working with Attention (Riksförbundet Attention) to carry out a three-year method development project with support from the Swedish Inheritance Fund (Allmänna Arvsfonden). Using a co-development approach, we are developing three digital products:
- A digitalized version of the IPSA program for parents with diagnosed ADHD,
- An open website with knowledge, examples, tips, and simpler tools for parents in the target group, as well as their close relations and professionals in a wider context,
- Parent-to-parent support meetings to be organized by the association Attention.