UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Effects of Instructions on Mothers’ Ratings of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms in Referred Children Johnston, Charlotte; Weiss, Margaret D.; Murray, Candice; Miller, Natalie Viola


Tested whether instructions for how to rate child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms would improve the agreement between mothers’ ratings of symptoms in their children and ratings provided by teachers and objective observers. Sixty-two mothers of 5 to 12 year old children (48 boys and 14 girls) referred for ADHD assessment were randomly assigned to receive or not receive the instructions. Mothers and teachers rated the children on the SNAP-IV Rating Scale and objective observers rated the children’s behavior during structured tasks. Relations between mother and teacher, and mother and observer ratings were generally stronger for mothers in the Instruction group compared to mothers in the No Instruction group, in some cases significantly stronger. The instructional materials also improved mothers’ ability to accurately describe ADHD and showed reduced some associations between mothers’ ratings and family socioeconomic status. Conclusions: These instructions have the potential to improve clinical assessments of child ADHD symptoms.

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