Efficacy of Non-pharmacological Treatments on Emotional Symptoms of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

Efficacy of Non-pharmacological Treatments on Emotional Symptoms of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Meta-Analysis

Guo, C. Assumpcao, L. Hu, Z.
Journal of Attention Disorders
BACKGROUND: The present meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the efficacy of various non-pharmacological interventions on comorbid emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation (ED) in children and adults with ADHD. METHOD: Forty-four randomized controlled trials (23 studies with ADHD children and 21 studies with ADHD adults) were included. Risk of bias, heterogeneity assessment, and subgroup analyses were conducted. RESULTS: We found that therapies targeting the relationship between children and others (i.e., parent-training [on ED and depression] and social skills training [on ED]) were efficacious in the treatment of emotional symptoms in children with ADHD at post-intervention. As for adults with ADHD, cognitive behavioral therapy was found to be effective for the improvement of emotional symptoms at both post-intervention and follow-up. CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate that the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions varies substantially across children and adults with ADHD. These results provide important implications for the selection of non-pharmacological interventions for children with ADHD.

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Type of intervention

Treatment and Child Welfare Interventions


Mental Health Problems and Disorders

Emotional Problems

Depression and Depressed Mood

Anxiety Problems

Anxiety and Anxiousness



Psychological Treatments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy

Age group

Preschool Aged Children (3-5 years)

School Aged Children (6-12 years)

Adolescents (13-18 years)

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