How we recruited to the study

The OPTIMA study is being run in selected UK children’s health services (see below for full list). Parents who had recently been referred to their local services and accepted onto their waiting list for assessment were screened. If they met the following eligibility criteria, then we contacted them and invited them to take part in the study:

  •  Child is aged 5-11 years and has been on the services waitlist for less than 9 months.
  • Clinical records show that the parent has rated their child as having high levels of attention problems and disruptive behaviour.
  • Parent has access to a smartphone with recent operating system which can connect to the internet.
  • Parent does not have difficulty in understanding written/spoken English.
  • Parent has given consent to be contacted by researchers.

In addition, if the family met any of the following exclusion criteria, they would not be eligible to take part in OPTIMA: 

  • Child is under care of the Local Authority.
  • Child has already completed a clinical assessment or started treatment.
  • Parent already enrolled in OPTIMA.

The initial invitation to parents included a link to this explanatory video:

Study sites

Parents of children who were on the waiting list in these listed services were invited to take part in OPTIMA:

– Kent Children & Young People Mental Health Service
– South West London & St George’s Services
– Nottingham Early Behavioural Help Team
– South London and Maudsley Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services:  

– Gloucestershire Health and Care Service 
– Solent Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services:

Recruitment statistics

796 parents in all were identified as eligible for OPTIMA and were invited to take part in the study. Of those, 391 completed an online consent form. That form asked parents to give their consent to various compulsory elements of the study, such as data collection and storage and willingness to be contacted by email and text message. It also asked parents if they would consent to some optional study activities, such as participating in the ESO drawing task with their child and follow-up interviews with researchers.

All parents that completed a consent form were then asked to complete an initial set of ‘baseline’ questionnaires, before being officially recruited into the OPTIMA study. Between May 2022 and July 2023, 352 parents were recruited into the study. The last parents will complete their OPTIMA participation in August 2024.

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