Pilot study of the efficacy of empowering patients through coaching as a complementary therapy in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Neurologia. 2016 Mar;31(2):83-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2015.06.017. Epub 2015 Sep 14.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most frequent neurodevelopmental disorder and must be considered a public health priority because of its functional repercussions in school, family, and social settings. Health empowerment is an innovative model of care for patients with chronic diseases based on self-management education. Our goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of empowerment using coaching within a multimodal treatment plan in paediatric patients with ADHD.

Material and methods: Descriptive open prospective study. We included children between 6 and 12 years old belonging to patient association in a suburban area of the Region of Madrid. We evaluated the situation before and after 5 cost-free coaching sessions using the Conners Questionnaire, Dundee difficult times of day scale, and satisfaction scales.

Results: We included 49 patients (73.5% males) with an average age of 8.5 years. The ADHD hyperactive-impulsive subtype was present in 63.3% and 77.6% had some type of comorbidity. All were treated with methylphenidate and their clinical course was poor. Clinical improvements were observed in 79.6% with a 34.6% mean reduction in symptoms (SD 11.1), and improvements remained stable at 6 months follow-up after coaching. We reached a satisfaction level of 7.8 out of 10 (SD 1.7), and 95.9% of the participants recommended this treatment to other families.

Conclusions: Our results provide information on the potential benefits of coaching as complementary treatment for ADHD.

Keywords: Attention deficit; Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Coaching; Déficit de atención; Empoderar; Empowerment; Hiperactividad; Hyperactivity; Psicoestimulantes; Psychostimulants; Trastorno por déficit de atención e hiperactividad.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate