A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for College Students With ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2018 Feb;22(4):388-399. doi: 10.1177/1087054716686183. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Objective: Between 2% and 8% of college students meet criteria for ADHD, with increased incidence in recent decades. There are very few clinical trials conducted on the meaningful intervention of ADHD in college. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) effectively treats college students with ADHD and could be more feasibly applied in college mental health clinics.

Method: Fifty-four undergraduates with ADHD between ages 19 and 24 were randomized to receive either MBCT or wait-list (WL) during a 6-week intervention phase. ADHD symptoms, neuropsychological performance, and related outcomes were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up.

Results: Participants receiving MBCT group showed greater treatment response rates (57%-71% vs. 23%-31%) and experience less anxiety and depression, and greater levels of mindfulness; MBCT participants show greater improvement on neuropsychological performance.

Conclusion: MBCT may be a useful intervention for college students with ADHD, improving participants' ADHD symptoms, mindfulness, and sustained attention.

Keywords: Attentional Network Test; adult ADHD treatment; college students; mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Students / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities
  • Young Adult