IES Awards Lehigh Researchers $3.29 Million to Examine ADHD Behavioral Parent Education Program

The College of Education's George J. DuPaul, Lee Kern, Bridget V. Dever and the College of Business's Shin-Yi Chou will collaborate on the research.

College of Education building

Researchers from Lehigh’s College of Education and Lehigh’s College of Business have been awarded a $3.29 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to examine the effects of face-to-face and online behavioral parent education for young children at-risk for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

In the College of Education, George J. DuPaul is professor of school psychology and the associate dean for research, Lee Kern is professor of special education and director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice, and Bridget V. Dever is associate professor of school psychology. In the College of Business, Shin-Yi Chou holds the Arthur F. Searing Professorship and chairs the Department of Economics. 

The newly funded research is a follow-up research project to assess an earlier IES funded research program “Promoting Engagement with ADHD Pre-Kindergarteners (PEAK).” 

Project PEAK evaluated both face-to-face and online early intervention family education programs and was designed to target the issues of young children (age 3-5) exhibiting early behavioral symptoms of ADHD. Parents enrolled in PEAK with their 3- to 5-year-olds gained effective behavior management strategies to use in their home and community, received support from a child development specialist, developed a personalized plan of action and connected with other parents.

With the additional funding, the researchers will examine the PEAK program’s effect on parent understanding and adherence using the intervention strategies, parent treatment acceptability, child and parent behavior, and early academic skills for families of young children at-risk for ADHD. 

The researchers will also evaluate the degree to which post-treatment effects are maintained up to a 24-month follow-up and whether maintenance differs between face-to-face and online behavioral parent education. The impact of online and face-to-face PEAK will be assessed relative to a wait-list control condition.

They will seek to identify possible moderators (such as a parent exhibiting ADHD symptoms) and mediators (such as parent treatment consistency at home) of the effects of behavioral parent education and whether there are differences between face-to-face and online treatment. 

A final aim is to conduct cost and cost-effectiveness analyses on the intervention to determine if both service modes of in-person and online intervention maintain consistent results and to determine costs associated with both types of service modes.

The research will take place in the Lehigh Valley and the surrounding area in community settings, such as preschools and family homes. The study will include approximately 180 3- to 5-year-old children identified with significant symptoms of ADHD and associated impairment, along with their parents, who will participate in this study over a three-year span.

Story by Tamara Bartolet

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