Dr Dione Healey Research Interests

Tel 64 3 479 7620
Email: dionehealey@psy.otago.ac.nz
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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 Dr Dione Healy

Dr Dione Healy
Department of Psychology

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders of childhood, causing difficulties for individuals, their families, schools, peers, and society at large. Additionally these children are recipients of numerous services ranging from classroom adaptations, individual therapies, family interventions, medication prescriptions, and A & E visitations following reckless and impulsive behaviours. While effective treatments for the disorder exist, in the form of medication and behavioural management training, they do not have any lasting effects. Once the active intervention is ceased the symptoms return.

Promising Results for "Brain Training" Interventions for ADHD

An extensive body of research has shown that the brains of children with ADHD are delayed in their growth and that these children have a wide array of neurocognitive deficits which likely contribute to their maladaptive behaviour patterns. Psychological research has consistently shown that normal brain development is highly responsive to environmental enrichment. Therefore, researchers in the field have recently begun to develop and test “brain training” interventions for ADHD. The results so far are promising.

ENGAGE: Enhancing Neurobehavioural Gains with the Aid of Games and Exercise

Dr Healey’s research programme is focused on the evaluation of an intervention that she her colleagues have developed; called ENGAGE (Enhancing Neurobehavioural Gains with the Aid of Games and Exercise). This programme uses common children’s games to target skill deficits associated with hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention in an attempt to improve brain functioning and teach self-regulatory skills. The hope is that this intervention approach may lead to more lasting effects than the currently available treatments for ADHD.

Supervision of Student Projects and Thesis on ADHD

In addition to her intervention research, Dr Healey runs a very active research laboratory where she supervises a wide range of student projects and thesis looking at various aspects of functioning in children with ADHD, as well as their teachers and families.

Publications

Gopin, C.B., Healey, D.M., Grossman, B.R., Campbell, S.B., & Halperin, J.M. (in press). Task palatability, but not structure, differentially influences mother-child interactions in ADHD children with and without ODD. Infant and Child Development.

Healey, D. M., & Consedine, N. S.  (in press).  Emotions and psychopathology in early years of life.  Chapter to appear in R. E. Tremblay, M. Boivin, and R. D. Peters (Eds.), Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Montreal: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development.

Gopin, C.B., & Healey, D.M. (2011). The neural and neurocognitive determinants of ADHD. Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 10, 13-31

Healey, D.M., Marks, D.J., & Halperin, J.M. (2011). Examining the interplay among negative emotionality, cognitive functioning, and ADHD symptom severity. Journal of International Neuropsychological Society, 17, 1-9.

Healey, D.M, Flory, J.D., Miller, C.J., & Halperin, J.M. (2011). Maternal positive parenting style is associated with better functioning in hyperactive/inattentive preschool children. Infant and Child Development, 20, 148-161.

Halperin, J.M., & Healey, D.M. (2011). The Influences of Environmental Enrichment, Cognitive Enhancement, and Physical Exercise on Brain Development: Can we Alter the Developmental Trajectory of ADHD? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 621-634.

Healey, D.M., Gopin, C.B., Grossman, B.R., Campbell, S.B., & Halperin, J.M. (2010). Mother-child dyadic synchrony is associated with better functioning in hyperactive/inattentive preschoolers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 1058-1066.

Healey, D.M., Brodzinsky, L.K., Bernstein, M., Rabinovitz, B., & Halperin, J.M. (2010). Moderating effects of neurocognitive abilities on the relationship between temperament and global functioning. Child Neuropsychology, 16, 20-31.

Gopin, C.B., Healey, D.M., Castelli, K.L. Marks, D.J., & Halperin, J.M. (2010). Usefulness of a clinician rating scale in identifying preschool children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13, 479-488.

Healey, D. (2010). The treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: where are we at and where are we going? Journal of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists, 20, 25-28.

Healey, D.M., France, K. G., & Blampied, N. M. (2009). The role of generalisation in the treatment of Infant Sleep Disturbance. Behavioral Interventions, 24, 23-41.

Healey, D.M., Miller, C.J., Castelli, K.L., Marks, D.J., & Haleprin, J.M. (2008). The impact of impairment criteria on rates of ADHD diagnoses in preschoolers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 771-778.

Healey, D.M., & Rucklidge, J. J. (2008). The Relationship between ADHD and Creativity. ADHD Report, 16, 1-4.

Healey, D. M. & Rucklidge, J.J. (2006). An investigation into the relationship among ADHD, creativity, and neuropsychological functioning in children. Child Neuropsychology, 12, 421-438.

Healey, D. M.& Rucklidge, J.J. (2006). An investigation into the psychosocial functioning of creative children: The impact of ADHD symptomatology. Journal of Creative Behavior, 40, 243-264.

Healey, D.M. & Runco, M.A. (2006). Could creativity be associated with insomnia? Creativity Research Journal, 18, 39-43.

Pritchard, V.E., Healey, D.M., & Neuman, E. (2006). Assessing selective attention abilities in ADHD, highly creative, and normal young children via Stroop negative priming effects. In C.M. Fletcher-Flinn and G.M. Habermann (Eds.), Cognition, language, and development: Perspectives from New Zealand, Brisbane: Australian Academic Press.

Healey, D.M. & Rucklidge, J.J. (2005). An exploration into the creative abilities of children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 8, 88-95.

Healey, D.M. and Rucklidge, J.J (2003). Possible differences in the underlying mechanisms leading to inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in ADHD versus creative children. New Zealand Clinical Psychologist Journal, 13, 36-45.

Link to other Publications

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