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