Publications

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Attainment, attendance, and school difficulties in UK primary schoolchildren with probable ADHD (2020)

This study explored the relationship between probable ADHD status (predictor) and academic attainment, school attendance, behaviour in school, and reported attitudes towards school in children aged 4-9. Results found children whose behaviour indicates probable ADHD struggle to cope at school in terms of academic attainment, attendance, classroom behaviour and attitude towards school when compared to other children. Early identification and intervention to help these children manage in school is needed.

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This paper systematically reviews randomised controlled trial evidence of the effectiveness of interventions for children with ADHD in school settings. Analyses demonstrated beneficial effects for interventions that combine multiple features and suggest some promise for daily report card interventions. Qualitative comparative analysis demonstrated that self-regulation and one-to-one intervention delivery were important components of interventions that were effective for academic outcomes. These two components were not sufficient though; when they appeared with personalisation for individual recipients and delivery in the classroom, or when interventions did not aim to improve child relationships, interventions were effective.

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Forty-two educational practitioners from primary, secondary and alternate provision schools in the UK participated in focus groups or individual interviews that explored (1) their experiences of managing students with ADHD in the classroom and (2) factors that helped and hindered them in this endeavour. Results suggest that factors such as attitudes towards ADHD, relationships experienced by students with ADHD and other treatments being delivered need to be carefully considered before strategies are put in place in the classroom.

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This study explores whether different levels of ADHD symptoms are associated with prior changes in the socioeconomic status (SES) facet of financial difficulty. Analyses found families who had no financial difficulty had children with a lower average ADHD symptom score than groups who experienced financial difficulty. Children whose families stayed in financial difficulty had higher mean ADHD symptom scores than all other groups. Our findings contribute to the building evidence that SES may influence the severity and/or impairment associated with the symptoms of ADHD.

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This study aimed to explore how educational practitioners conceptualise their beliefs about the causes of symptoms of ADHD through focus groups and individual interviews. Analyses found practitioners’ beliefs fell into two categories: biological and environmental. Practitioners conceptualised the causes of ADHD in lay-theoretical models: a ‘True’ ADHD model considered that symptoms of ADHD in many cases were due to adverse environments; and a model whereby a biological predisposition is the root of the cause of the child’s symptoms. These differential beliefs about the causes of ADHD may lead to practitioners blaming parents for a child’s behaviour and discounting ADHD as a valid condition.

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This systematic review examines associations between parental socioeconomic disadvantage and childhood ADHD. Socioeconomic status (SES) was measured by parental income, education, occupation and marital status.The review found evidence for an association between socioeconomic disadvantage and risk of ADHD measured in different ways. This is likely mediated by factors linked to low SES such as parental mental health and maternal smoking during pregnancy.

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This study investigates the relationship between socioeconomic disadvantage in childhood and ADHD, and investigates mediators of this association in a longitudinal population-based birth cohort in the UK.

Socioeconomic disadvantage, conceptualised as reported difficulty in affording basic necessities (e.g. heating, food) has both direct and indirect impacts on a child’s risk of ADHD. Lower levels of parent involvement mediates this association, as does presence of adversity; with children exposed to adversity and those with less involved parents being at an increased risk of having ADHD.

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