Goal Management Training for rehabilitation of executive functions: a systematic review of effectiveness in patients with acquired brain injury

Disabil Rehabil. 2014;36(2):105-16. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2013.777807. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Purpose: To determine if Goal Management Training (GMT) is effective for the rehabilitation of executive functions following brain injury when administered alone or in combination with other interventions.

Method: Systematic review, with quality appraisal specific to executive functions research and calculation of effect sizes.

Results: Twelve studies were included. Four studies were "Proof-of-principle" studies, testing the potential effectiveness of GMT and eight were rehabilitation studies. Effectiveness was greater when GMT was combined with other interventions. The most effective interventions appeared to be those combing GMT with: Problem Solving Therapy; personal goal setting; external cueing or prompting apply GMT to the current task; personal homework to increase patients' commitment and training intensity; ecological and daily life training activities rather than paper-and-pencil, office-type tasks. Level of support for GMT was higher for studies measuring outcome in terms of increases in participation in everyday activities rather than on measures of executive impairment.

Conclusion: Comprehensive rehabilitation programs incorporating GMT, but integrating other approaches, are effective in executive function rehabilitation following brain injury in adults. There is insufficient evidence to support use of GMT as a stand-alone intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Executive Function*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Problem Solving
  • Task Performance and Analysis