The CoolCraig App: Promoting Health by Improving Self-Regulation in Adolescents with ADHD (California)

Project Details - Ongoing

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent childhood psychiatric condition and has profound public health, personal, and family impacts. It is chronic and lifelong, requiring maintenance and substantial self-regulation in order to support treatment gains. Despite success in clinical interventions, long-term adherence can be challenging. It is not unusual for children to receive less frequent treatment and support as they become adolescents, corresponding to a time when many experience increasingly difficult situations in academic and social settings.

This project will develop and pilot CoolCraig, a wearable and connected system combining a fitness tracker, mobile phone application, and web portal. The device will help adolescents set goals, receive prompts to utilize strategies to achieve those goals, and reflect on their successes. Goals might include completion of homework, compliance with parent or school rules, hours of sleep per night, amount of physical activity during the day, and compliance with a medication regimen. Participants will be able to track their progress with their goals.

The specific aims of this project are as follows:

  • Establish key design principles for the support of adolescents with ADHD and implement these principles in the CoolCraig system. 
  • Evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of CoolCraig. 

The design of CoolCraig will be informed by a series of workshops with adolescents who have ADHD, their caregivers, and clinicians. Results of early workshops will inform the development of personas and scenarios that will inform subsequent workshops and final design guidelines. Prototypes--paper- and narrative-based at first, functional toward the end--will be developed in between workshops. A final workshop will be used to validate and modify a draft set of design guidelines.

The resulting product will then be evaluated using mixed methods. Twenty adolescents with ADHD and at least one of their caregivers will be recruited to use CoolCraig for 16 weeks to reinforce, extend, and maintain treatment gains. Data will be collected 1 week prior to the intervention, at week 8 of the intervention, and then post-intervention. At each assessment, researchers will interview participants, parents, and clinicians, and outcome measures will be collected. The results of this pilot study will inform a subsequent clinical trial.

The project team will make design principles available publicly online. A version of the software that does not need clinical support will be released to the public, and the source code will be released to researchers interested in building on the work to create personal health technologies using similar hardware platforms.

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