Symptom Tracking for ADHD in Real Time using Smartphones (START Smart Study)

Supervising Faculty: Traci Kennedy, Postdoctoral Scholar, UPMC Psychiatry

Contact: Traci Kennedy,

Area of Research: Clinical Psychology; Developmental Psychology

Description of Research: The goal of the START Smart Study is to explore whether smartphones can be used to help young adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in their everyday lives by tracking and giving feedback on their behavior. This study is enrolling 70 young adults between age 18-21 with ADHD. Participants will have 2 video calls and will answer questions about their behavior on their smartphones each day for 3 weeks. The results of this study are being used to design a mobile-health intervention for young adults with ADHD targeting real-world inhibitory control throughout the day, which will be piloted, refined, and subsequently tested in a small randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Duties of Students: Specific duties to be selected from the following in collaboration with student and mentors depending on student’s goals, level of experience, and comfort level:

  • Participate in virtual participant visits (e.g., engage participants in informed consent process; provide instructions for study questionnaire; observe clinical ADHD diagnostic assessments)
  • Help schedule participant visits via email
  • Conduct participant eligibility screens by phone
  • Support participant recruitment efforts (e.g., facilitate class announcements; post flyers on campus)
  • Conduct literature reviews
  • Code and enter quantitative data
  • Transcribe qualitative interviews
  • Code qualitative interviews
  • Help develop study codebook
  • Program Qualtrics measures
  • Attend weekly lab meetings, lab-wide journal club and educational seminars, and relevant didactics offered during the semester (e.g., diversity, equity, inclusion brownbags; departmental talks relevant to our research)
  • Develop, conduct, and present directed research project with mentorship


  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0037 Research Methods Lab
  • Experience with SPSS is preferred but not required
  • No minimum term commitment required, though at least 2 semesters will typically permit a more enriching research experience

Recruitment Process:  Students will first submit a resume or CV, unofficial transcript, and brief (1-sentence) statement of their interest in my research for their directed research experience. I will meet with students who contact me to describe the research opportunities in my lab, outline expectations, and learn more about the student’s experiences related to research and their interest in my lab. Through this meeting, I will assess the student’s fit with my research lab and my/Dr. Pedersen’s abilities to support their goals for directed research. Students will be enrolled with a rolling acceptance until all spots are filled. In the case that more students simultaneously apply than spots are available, preference will be given to students who have comfort with the research methods and protocol. In line with the YFRP commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, students who demonstrate understanding of the socio-historically based structural disadvantage that affects people of color and/or knowledge of stigma and discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ+) community are preferred.

Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 4

Lab website

To apply: Complete the application located at: Once you have completed the application, click this link to email Dr. Kennedy to indicate that you have completed the application.