ADHD: Is there an app for that?

This study has received funding from the University of Sheffield Think Ahead Student Undergraduate Research

Experience Scheme (TASURE), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Vacation Bursary Scheme and is primarily funded by the Telehealth and Care Technologies (TaCT) theme of the NIHR's Collaboration of Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC YH).

Background: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterised by three core symptoms; inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, which can have a huge impact on those with ADHD, their family and their education.  ADHD is currently managed using drug based and non drug based interventions. With advances in technology, non-drug based interventions can be delivered, and more recently, via mobile applications (apps). However, little is known regarding the suitability of apps specifically designed for this population. Children and young people with ADHD also often rely on their parents to help manage their condition.

Therefore we carried out two studies:

Study 1: Assessed the suitability of available apps for children and young people with ADHD. We interviewed the children as well as their clinicians for this study.

Study 2: Assessed the suitability of apps for the parents of children and young people with ADHD. We interviewed the parents and clinicians for this study.

For both studies, ten apps were identified via the Google Play (n=5) and iTunes Store (n=5) that are specifically targeted towards children and young people with ADHD (study one), or their parents, study two (n=20 overall). 

Results: We found that available apps that state they are suitable for these populations aren't very suitable. From this study, we published two papers (see below) and also published a checklist, on the CLAHRC YH e-repository, that was developed by the research team and the young people, parents and their clinicians. This checklist helps these populations to know what they need to think about when downloading an app to help manage their ADHD. The checklist can be found here

Study one paper can be accessed here. 

Study two paper can be accessed here. 

The methods of these papers was discussed at the AAATE conference, 2017 and the conference paper can be accessed here. Study one findings have also been presented at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress 2017.

Miss Naomi Robertson

Miss Naomi Robertson: You can read more about Naomi's involvement in study 1 here.

Project Team

Miss Lauren Powell (University of Sheffield)

Project Lead

Dr Jack Parker (University of Sheffield)

Collaborator (Academic)

Dr Val Harpin (Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust)

Collaborator (Clinical)

Miss Naomi Robertson (University of Sheffield)

Collaborator (Student)