Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 111–126 | Cite as

Toward Mapping Daily Challenges of Living with ADHD: Maternal and Child Perspectives Using Electronic Diaries

  • Carol K. Whalen
  • Barbara Henker
  • Larry D. Jamner
  • Sharon S. Ishikawa
  • Joshua N. Floro
  • Ralph Swindle
  • Amy R. Perwien
  • Joseph A. Johnston
Original Article

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has an impact on the family as well as the affected child. This study developed and tested an electronic diary for mapping the challenges of everyday family life in a sample of children with ADHD being treated with pharmacotherapy. Across 7 days, mothers and children (27 ADHD; 25 non-ADHD) independently reported their moods, behaviors, and social contexts every 30 min during nonschool hours. Symptomatic behaviors and negative moods were elevated in the ADHD group, combined with maternal perceptions of lower parenting effectiveness and quality of life. Differences in the contexts of maternal anger were salient, with mothers in the ADHD group more often angry when with their children and comparison mothers more often angry when not. Although mothers' diaries were more informative, children's diaries also distinguished the two groups, especially during mornings and weekends. The need for family-wide interventions, the utility of child self-reports, and the promise of electronic diaries are discussed.


ADHD stimulant pharmacotherapy family interaction parenting effectiveness electronic diaries 



This research was supported in part by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company. We are indebted to our devoted research team, especially Christina E. Merrilees, Cara Kiff, Allison Wright, Judy Hollingshead, Dana Le, and Ryan Murray, and to the children and parents for their enthusiastic participation in this study. We appreciate the invaluable contributions of several colleagues, particularly Tim Wigal, Sally Snyder, John Chai, and Ralph J. Delfino. Thanks are also due to Henry Pham for designing the diary icons.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol K. Whalen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Barbara Henker
    • 2
  • Larry D. Jamner
    • 1
  • Sharon S. Ishikawa
    • 1
  • Joshua N. Floro
    • 1
  • Ralph Swindle
    • 3
  • Amy R. Perwien
    • 3
  • Joseph A. Johnston
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Social BehaviorUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineU.S.
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesU.S.
  3. 3.Outcomes ResearchEli Lilly and CompanyIndianapolisU.S.
  4. 4.Department of Psychology and Social Behavior3340 Social Ecology II, University of CaliforniaIrvineU.S.

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