Psychosocial Treatment Strategies in the MTA Study: Rationale, Methods, and Critical Issues in Design and Implementation

Ohio State University
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.48). 01/2000; 28(6):483-505. DOI: 10.1023/A:1005174913412


The Collaborative Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the MTA, is the first multisite, cooperative agreement treatment study of children, and the largest psychiatric/psychological treatment trial ever conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. It examines the effectiveness of Medication vs. Psychosocial treatment vs. their combination for treatment of ADHD and compares these experimental arms to each other and to routine community care. In a parallel group design, 579 (male and female) ADHD children, aged 7–9 years, 11 months, were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental arms, and then received 14 months of prescribed treatment (or community care) with periodic reassessments. After delineating the theoretical and empirical rationales for Psychosocial treatment of ADHD, we describe the MTA's Psychosocial Treatment strategy applied to all children in two of the four experimental arms (Psychosocial treatment alone; Combined treatment). Psychosocial treatment consisted of three major components: a Parent Training component, a two-part School Intervention component, and a child treatment component anchored in an intensive Summer Treatment Program. Components were selected based on evidence of treatment efficacy and because they address comprehensive symptom targets, settings, comorbidities, and functional domains. We delineate key conceptual and logistical issues faced by clinical researchers in design and implementation of Psychosocial research with examples of how these issues were addressed in the MTA study.

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    • "The ADHD group treatment program used in this study is an 8-session manualized BPT program, based on the 10-session program originally developed by Barkley (1997) and the 35-session program used in the MTA study (Wells et al., 2000). It specifically focused on issues related to children with ADHD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study examined the feasibility and effectiveness of a behavioral parent training (BPT) group intervention implemented in an outpatient mental health setting in reducing child impairments and increasing parenting confidence in managing child behavior. Method: Parents of 241 children with ADHD participated in the eight-session parent group program, completing the Impairment Rating Scale (IRS) and a measure of parenting confidence at the first and last session. Results: Parents reported improvements in child behavior across all domains of the IRS, with the largest improvements in terms of overall impairment, parent-child relationship, and impact of child behavior on the family. Parents also reported increased confidence in managing their child's behavior. Conclusion: These findings suggest that brief BPT group programs administered to a diverse range of attendees in a typical outpatient setting result in improvements in functional impairments comparable with those produced in controlled studies, as well as improved parenting confidence.
    Journal of Attention Disorders 04/2013; 19(2). DOI:10.1177/1087054713484175 · 3.78 Impact Factor
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    • "paraprofessional, and behavioral interventions in a summer camp (Wells et al., 2000). In addition, several other investigative teams have developed and evaluated programs involving classroom interventions and parent training (e.g., Abikoff et al., 2004; Kern et al., 2007; Owens, Murphy, Richerson, Girio, & Himawan, 2008; Pfiffner, Mikami, Huang- Pollock, Easterlin, Zalecki, & MvBurnett, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although numerous studies have evaluated the effectiveness of multi-modal psychosocial interventions for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, these programs are limited in that there has not beeti an explicit focus on the connection between fatnily and school. This study was designed to develop and pilot test a family-school ititervention, Family-School Success-Early Elementary (FSS-EE), for kindergarten and first-grade studetits with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Key components of FSS-EE were family-school behavioral consultatioti, daily report cards, and strategies to improve parent-child relationships atid family involvement in educatioti. FSS-EE was developed using a multistep iterative process. The piloted version consisted of 12 weekly sessions including 6 group meetings, 4 individualized family sessions, and 2 school-based consultations. Families participating in the study were given the choice of placing their childreti on medication; 25% of children were on medication at the time of random assignmetit. Childreti (n = 61) were randomly assigned to FSS-EE or a comparison group controlling for nonspecific treatment effects. Outcomes were assessed at post interventioti and 2-month follow-up. Study findings indicated that FSS-EE was feasible to implement and acceptable to paretits atid teachers. In addition, the findings provided preliminary evidence that FSS-EE is effective in improving parenting practices, child behavior at school, and the student-teacher relationship.
    School psychology review 12/2012; 41(4):447-466. · 1.85 Impact Factor
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    • "); Session 2, Attending and Rewarding (Cunningham et al., 1998); Session 3, Planned Ignoring (Cunningham et al., 1998); Session 4, Issuing Effective Comments (Forehand & Long, 1996; Wells et al., 2000); Session 5, Using When-Then Contingencies (Cunningham et al., 1998); Session 6, Using Time-Out (Cunningham et al., 1998); Session 7, Problem Solving (Cunningham et al., 1998); and Session 8, Programming for Maintenance (session based on the work of Barkley, 1997, and Wells et al., 2000). Table 2 illustrates the time spent on activities during the sessions for each group, and more detailed descriptions of each group are provided below. "
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    ABSTRACT: Few behavioral parent training (BPT) treatment studies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have included and measured outcomes with fathers. In this study, fathers were randomly assigned to attend a standard BPT program or the Coaching Our Acting-Out Children: Heightening Essential Skills (COACHES) program. The COACHES program included BPT plus sports skills training for the children and parent-child interactions in the context of a soccer game. Groups did not differ at baseline, and father ratings of treatment outcome indicated improvement at posttreatment for both groups on measures of child behavior. There was no significant difference between groups on ADHD-related measures of child outcome. However, at posttreatment, fathers who participated in the COACHES program rated children as more improved, and they were significantly more engaged in the treatment process (e.g., greater attendance and arrival on time at sessions, more homework completion, greater consumer satisfaction). The implications for these findings and father-related treatment efforts are discussed.
    Behavior therapy 07/2009; 40(2):190-204. DOI:10.1016/j.beth.2008.05.002 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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