Date of Award

5-8-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Donald U. Robertson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gordon F. Thornton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kimberely J. Husenits, Psy.D.

Abstract

Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) experience significant difficulties in the domains of attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This constellation of symptoms not only has a negative impact on the child’s life by creating difficulties in school and peer relations, but also is associated with difficulties within the home. In fact, having a child with ADHD is correlated with significant increases in the amount of stress that parents experience. Studies have indicated that when parents of children with ADHD participate in parent training and when children receive medication, parent stress is decreased. The current study examines whether a child’s participation in a psychosocial treatment, specifically the Summer Treatment Program (STP), can have the same significant positive impact on parents’ experience of stress. Participants were parents of children participating in the Summer Treatment Program provided through a community mental health clinic. Parents completed measures of parenting stress prior to and after their child participated in the STP. Measures of child behavior problems were also completed prior to and following the child’s participation in the STP. There was a significant decrease in the total amount of parenting stress that parents were experiencing after their child participated in the STP. Findings, however, were inconsistent as to whether or not child behavior improved. The results, however, do suggest that participation in the STP can have a positive impact on parent stress.

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