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A new study reveals six stages of engagement in treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Sep, 2021

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The proposed model has been advised by the personal experience of parents as they navigate the different stages of their family's journey from the diagnosis to treatment.

ADHD is a persistent pediatric condition that can last into adulthood and is the most common neurodevelopmental conditions during the childhood. Although the illness is treatable, racial and/or ethnic minority households face significant obstacles to treatment participation. Researchers at Boston Medical Center identified six engagement levels in the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) based on a varied study that included parents of most racial and ethnic minority children with ADHD. This is the first study to present a complete framework with a developing trajectory that parents and professionals can traverse together.

According to the researchers, traditional indicators of treatment engagement, such as prescriptions filled or missed appointments, do not accurately reflect the entire level of family involvement in care. The six stages of involvement identified by the research team are as follows: Hesitation & Normalization; Fear and Stigmatization; Advocacy and Action; Navigation & Communication; Validation & Care; Transition and Preparation. These stages of engagement develop in families in a manner comparable to a conventional developmental process, complicated by the fact that parents and providers are at different stages of the process. This is called as a stage mismatch, and it can cause conflict and difficulty, interfering with treatment engagement.

The study comprised 41 diverse, urban, low-income households with racial and ethnic minority youth who are more likely to struggle with care participation. Between June 2018 and October 2019, in-depth interviews were performed with families whose children aged three to seventeen were receiving ADHD therapy. Future research can also include outlooks from families with undiagnosed and untreated children, as well as the years of therapy and age of diagnosis, as well as a study of how families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds may progress through the stages in a different manner, which can be used to further advise this model.

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