Frequently Asked Questions

What are you studying?

PALS is studying the long-term outcomes in adolescence and adulthood of childhood ADHD.  As part of this study, we are also interested in comparing individuals with, and without, childhood histories of ADHD.  Thus, the PALS includes people with, and without, histories of ADHD diagnosis.  We are studying family life, employment, peer relations, school performance, substance use, mental health, and a wide range of other factors.

How long does this study last?

We are funded in five year increments.  It is currently our hope to interview all participants to middle adulthood.  Given the scope and importance of the study, we routinely apply for funding to allow us to continue this important work.

Why do you ask the same questions each year?

Individuals with ADHD, their parents, family, and friends are all interested in how participants with ADHD develop over time and change from year to year.  This issue is particularly important during certain stages of life when considerable change is experienced. Even though it may feel repetitive, we are able to study change only by asking participants the same questions each year.

During my interview, why do you ask the same questions over and over again?

This could happen for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes we use questions from other studies to compare results and we have to keep all of the questions, even if there is repetition.  Some questionnaires may ask the same question in more than one way to make sure that the participant understands what is being asked or to determine if the participant is answering the questions consistently.

A lot of the questions don't pertain to me (or to my son/daughter/partner/friend); why are you asking them?

This is a very large study and there is considerable variability across participants.  The age range alone, 16 years from our youngest to oldest participant, makes it difficult to have a set of questionnaires that are relevant for everyone.  We are interested in as much information as you feel that you are able to provide, and we don't want to presume that something doesn't apply to a particular individual based on age or other factors.  If you are having difficulty answering a particular question, please discuss it with the interviewer with whom you are working.  If you are filling out the forms at home and mailing them in, please make a notation next to any question that you are unable to answer.  This will highlight the question for the interviewer who conducts your telephone interview and it may be discussed at that time.  We periodically review our questions and sometimes make adjustments for a variety of reasons, so it’s always helpful to receive feedback.   

Do you offer treatment to participants?

We do not offer treatment in PALS, but we will try to assist PALS participants with referrals on a case-by-case basis.  The Resources section of this site also contains treatment information.

How do I obtain my medical records?

If you have received services from UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital (formerly Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, WPIC), a copy of your medical records may be obtained by contacting the Medical Records department.

When/where can I read about the results of the study?

Preliminary results are included in each issue of the PALS Newsletter.  These summaries are easier to read than the full manuscripts as they appear in professional journals.  Analyses of the data we have gathered to date are always ongoing.  As we summarize these, we will continue to share them with our participants in the newsletter that is sent by mail and available on this website.

As a PALS participant, am I eligible for other research studies?

  1. Studies in our lab designed specifically for PALS participants currently include the PALS-N (PALS-Neuroimaging study).
  2. Local studies being conducted by colleagues for which PALS participants may be eligible:  none at this time.
  3. Local studies that PALS participants may be interested in may be found at these links: Research Registry, Pitt+Me.