for people ages 6-85 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
at San Francisco, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Linda Pfiffner, PhD
Headshot of Linda Pfiffner
Linda Pfiffner



This study aims to develop, refine and preliminarily test a novel and scalable digital health solution designed to address parent adherence barriers in daily life contexts and increase parent's sustained use of evidence-based parenting strategies.

Official Title

A Digital Health Solution for Improving Parent Adherence to Behavioral Treatment for ADHD


The study includes the following 3 phases:

  1. Discovery phase: During the Discovery phase, we will conduct 1-hour focus groups at school sites with parents (N=8) and school mental health providers (N=4), who are considered major stakeholders and potential users of the dHealth tool. The purpose of these groups is to obtain feedback and guidance on features and procedures in order to maximize the usability and feasibility of the dHealth tool. This design includes participants who have completed a parenting skills treatment (CLS) and thus would be better informed to comment on needs for the augmented treatment. Stakeholders will be queried about their preferences regarding the application layout, tools, content, and features (e.g., reminders, badges). Recorded focus group sessions will be transcribed and coded for themes related to usability and feasibility.
  2. Design and Build phases: Feedback from the discovery phase will be incorporated into the design and build phases, during which time prototypes will be put through proof of concept testing with parents and school clinicians who had participated in the discovery phase. Qualitative data will be collected at 2 time points during the design and build phases. Quantitative data will be gathered using the System Usability Scale (SUS) for each component prototype (e.g., description of skill, video examples, interactive activities). A fully functioning application will be completed at the end of the build phase and ready for the test phase.
  3. Test Phase: The test phase is a 2-month pilot open trial of the dHealth tool with parents. We will provide the dHealth tool to parents who participated in the prior phases (N=5) as well as a new sample of parents (N=12) who will test the tool with their children in conjunction with the parent's participation in BPT at their school (to test tool utility during the course of treatment). Parents will be advised to use the tool daily to record parenting strategy use and to access information/training as needed. Qualitative semi-structured interviews during and after the trial will assess reactions to the platform (usability, feasibility, acceptability) to inform refinements and identify barriers and facilitators relating to use. Primary outcomes focus on usage metrics with the tool (e.g., frequency of use, module and activity completion, time, repeat activity), reported daily parenting skills use on the tool, and measures of feasibility and acceptability. Application usage analytics will be collected by the mobile application, providing objective descriptives including how often and for how long individuals access the application and each component, as well as how users navigate through the application. This data will be analyzed for patterns associated with tool satisfaction ratings, feasibility, and acceptability ratings and reported skill utilization. Secondary outcomes of parent knowledge, motivation and confidence in using EBT skills; parenting practices, ADHD symptoms and functional outcomes will be assessed before and after tool usage.
  4. Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) Phase: The RCT phase is a 20-month pilot randomized controlled trial of the refined dHealth tool with parents. We will randomly assign groups to receive either the parenting skills training plus the tool (N=5 groups, 30 parents) or parenting skills training without the tool (N=5 groups, 30 parents). Exploratory analyses will examine the potential mediating mechanism of skill utilization (immediate and sustained) for optimizing the association between the dHealth intervention and improved child and parenting outcomes and the potential moderating effect of parent ADHD/EF functioning and internalizing mental health dimensions.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, CaregiverAssist, Behavioral Parent Training (CLS Parent Group)


You can join if…

Open to people ages 6-85

  • Child aged 6-11 (grades 1-5)
  • Identification by school mental health professionals as experiencing challenges with inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity
  • Attending a participating SFUSD elementary school full time in a mainstream classroom
  • Living with a caretaker who is available to participate in treatment
  • Absence of significant visual/hearing impairment, severe language delay, psychosis, pervasive developmental disorder, or global intellectual impairment per school records
  • Significant ADHD symptoms as evidenced by having (i) six or more symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity rated as occurring "often" or "very often" by parents, (ii) at least one area of functioning rated as -≥ 3 on the Impairment Rating Scale by parent

You CAN'T join if...

  • No presence of conditions that are incompatible with this study's treatment including: severe visual or hearing impairment, severe language delay or intellectual impairment, psychosis, pervasive developmental disorder,
  • Child is in an all-day special education classroom (children in these classrooms are frequently receiving intensive behavior modification programs such that the intervention would be expected to require modification for use in these settings)
  • Children planning to change (start or stop) psychotropic medication Note: Children taking medication will be required to meet all entry criteria, including impairment criteria, thus indicating a need for the intervention. Children taking medication for attention or behavior are eligible as long as their medication regimens are stable.


  • HALP Clinic, Children's Center at Langley Porter, UCSF
    San Francisco California 94143 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Linda Pfiffner, PhD
    Linda Pfiffner, PhD is a Professor in Residence and Director of the Hyperactivity, Attention and Learning Problems (HALP) Program in the Department of Psychiatry and is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She received her B.A. from UCLA and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


accepting new patients by invitation only
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Expecting 80 study participants
Last Updated