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Objective: To evaluate two different parent-based therapies for preschool attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a community sample.

Method: Three-year-old children displaying a preschool equivalent of ADHD (n = 78) were randomly assigned to either a parent training (PT;n = 30), a parent counseling and support (PC&S;n = 28), or a waiting-list control group (n = 20). The PT group received coaching in child management techniques. The PC&S group received nondirective support and counseling. Measures of child symptoms and mothers' well-being were taken before and after intervention and at 15 weeks follow-up.

Results: ADHD symptoms were reduced (F2,74 = 11.64;p < .0001) and mothers' sense of well-being was increased by PT relative to both other groups (F2,74 = 10.32;p < .005). Fifty-three percent of children in the PT group displayed clinically significant improvement ([chi]2 = 4.08;p = .048).

Conclusions: PT is a valuable treatment for preschool ADHD. PC&S had little effect on children's behavior. Constructive training in parenting strategies is an important element in the success of parent-based interventions. Psychostimulants are not a necessary component of effective treatment for many children with preschool ADHD.

Copyright 2001 (C) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry