ADHD News & Research

Study: Improved Chore Completion Linked to ADHD Medication Efficacy After School

Children with ADHD who report positive benefits from medication in the after-school hours are more likely to meet parental expectations for chore completion, according to a recent study that analyzed the relationship between ADHD medication and household chore performance.

November 12, 2020

Children with parent-reported “after-school medication benefits” (ASMB) were more likely to meet expectations for five of eight household chores, and independently complete self-care and family-care chores, than were those without ASMB, according to a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders1. Completion of daily chores can be challenging for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) who struggle with weak working memory, low motivation for non-preferred tasks, and unreliable attention to details.

Researchers administered a questionnaire to 565 participants’ caregivers to gather information about the adequacy and quality of the children’s performance on two self-care and six family-care chores. Researchers also gathered data on ADHD symptom control in the afternoon. Children were considered to have after-school medication benefits (ASMB) if their parents indicated that the ADHD medication continued to work during the late afternoon hours. Information regarding duration of ADHD medication efficacy on weekdays was available for 520 children, 73.3% of whom were reported to have ASMB. Measures of chore performance of children with and without ASMB were compared using Mann-Whitney U tests.

Parental expectations for five of eight household chores were more likely to be met by children with ASMB, who were also more likely to independently complete both self-care and family-care chores than were children without ASMB. Overall, results indicated that ADHD medication has the potential to “reduce the need for reminders, increase independent completion of chores, and improve quality of chore completion.”  Researchers suggested that administering medication that lasted after the end of the school day might reduce household tension and conflict caused by poor chore completion.

Since the analysis was based on parent-report data, estimations of the duration and magnitude of the effects of medication were potentially imprecise. Nonetheless, researchers conclude that ADHD medication with longer-lasting effects might benefit children who struggle to complete chores, especially since participation in household routines aids the development of prosocial behavior and can improve feelings of self-efficacy.

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1Park F, Rapoport E, Soled D, Adesman A. Impact of Medication on Performance of Household Chores by Children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. November 2020. doi:10.1177/1087054720969980