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Randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate their efficacy in comparison with in-person group meetings.
Virtual Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) appears to be an acceptable alternative for parents of children with ADHD, according to findings presented at the 2021 American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) Annual Virtual Meeting.
A team, led by Nguyen Tran, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, administered online surveys to assess parent satisfaction with new telegroup formats due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We assessed the acceptability of online BPT as an alternative to in-person groups since the start of COVID-19,” the team wrote. “Given increased stress and social isolation for parents during the pandemic, telegroups are hypothesized to be an acceptable alternative for parents of children with ADHD.”
An Assessment of Remote Behavioral Parent Training
Tran and colleagues thus evaluated a total of 75 parents (74.3% female) of children with externalizing behaviors. The sample was taken across 12 groups and 5 BPT programs: Incredible Years, Superparenting, ADHD 101, First Stem, and Lifestyle Enhancement for ADHD Program (LEAP).
Some of the programs had met in-person prior to the pandemic, while others—including LEAP—were conducted entirely through virtual means.
Surveys on acceptability and satisfaction were administered following 1 year of attendance to these programs.
These included the Telegroup Feedback Survey (TFS), which inquired into parents’ experiences with technological features of the group as well as the group itself, and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ), which surveyed general satisfaction with the group.
Therefore, of the total surveyed, 88% reported overall satisfaction with the telegroup format.
Most reported a preference for having virtual groups as opposed to a cancellation or discontinuation of them. Further, 80% reported that they are able to actively participate in the sessions.
Even more, LEAP attendance was significantly higher in a virtual setting (95.7%; 112 out of 117 encounters) compared with a previous in-person group. The investigators reported an increase in attendance by 11.5%.
Up to 69% of attendants (N = 9) in the LEAP group rated the service as ‘excellent,’ and 31% rated it as ‘good.’
According to the CSQ, 84% (N = 11) reported that most or all of their needs were met by the program.
Across all programs, only a few parents reported technical issues (n = 3), and some (n = 5) noted that telegroup can make discussions more challenging than in-person meetings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on families of children with ADHD or disruptive behaviors,” Tran and colleagues wrote. “Our data shows that parents generally found the telegroup format to be acceptable but some gaps remain, including around technical issues and participation.”
They acknowledged that additional research on acceptability is warranted. In terms of future directions, they noted a need for randomized controlled trials that could more effectively evaluate the efficacy of telegroup verices versus in-person services.
The study, “Assessing the Transition to Remote Videoconference Group Parent Training Interventions for ADHD During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” was presented at APSARD 2021.