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Short cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive training for adults with ADHD – a randomized controlled pilot study

Authors Virta M, Salakari A, Antila M, Chydenius E, Partinen M, Kaski M, Vataja R, Kalska H, Iivanainen M

Published 16 July 2010 Volume 2010:6(1) Pages 443—453

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S11743

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Maarit Virta1,2, Anita Salakari1, Mervi Antila1, Esa Chydenius1, Markku Partinen1, Markus Kaski1, Risto Vataja3, Hely Kalska2, Matti Iivanainen1

1Rinnekoti Research Centre, Espoo, Finland; 2Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland; 3Kellokoski Hospital, Kellokoski, Finland

Abstract: In clinical practice, a growing need exists for effective non-pharmacological ­treatments of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here, we present the results of a pilot study of 10 adults with ADHD participating in short-term individual ­cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), 9 adults participating in cognitive training (CT), and 10 controls. Self-report ­questionnaires, independent evaluations, and computerized neurocognitive testing were ­collected before and after the treatments to evaluate change. There were distinctive pre-hypotheses regarding the treatments, and therefore the statistical comparisons were conducted in pairs: CBT vs control, CT vs control, and CBT vs CT. In a combined ADHD symptom score based on self-reports, 6 participants in CBT, 2 in CT and 2 controls improved. Using independent evaluations, improvement was found in 7 of the CBT participants, 2 of CT ­participants and 3 controls. There was no treatment-related improvement in cognitive performance. Thus, in the CBT group, some encouraging improvement was seen, although not as clearly as in ­previous research with longer interventions. In the CT group, there was improvement in the trained tasks but no generalization of the improvement to the tasks of the neurocognitive testing, the ­self-report questionnaires, or the independent evaluations. These preliminary results warrant further studies with more participants and with more elaborate cognitive testing.

Keywords: CBT, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cognitive testing, non-­pharmacological treatments

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