Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for College Students With ADHD: Temporal Stability of Improvements in Functioning Following Active Treatment

J Atten Disord. 2020 Apr;24(6):863-874. doi: 10.1177/1087054717749932. Epub 2018 Jan 5.


Objective: This study examined the extent to which college students with ADHD continued to benefit from a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program beyond the active phase of treatment. Method: In successive cohorts over a 4-year period, a total of 88 college students with well-defined ADHD received CBT in an open clinical trial format that included active treatment and maintenance phases delivered across two consecutive semesters. Results: Immediately following active treatment, participants displayed statistically significant reductions in ADHD symptoms, improvements in executive functioning, and declines in anxiety and depression symptoms. Although grade point average did not improve significantly, there were statistically significant increases in the number of credit hours that participants attempted and earned across active treatment. Improvements in symptom severity, executive functioning, and educational functioning remained stable 5 to 7 months after active treatment concluded. Conclusion: Findings from this study support the use of CBT interventions for college students with ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; cognitive-behavioral therapy; college students; treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity*
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Students
  • Universities