Mindfulness vs psychoeducation in adult ADHD: a randomized controlled trial

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2018 Jun;268(4):321-335. doi: 10.1007/s00406-018-0868-4. Epub 2018 Jan 22.

Abstract

Background: Mindfulness training is a promising treatment approach in adult ADHD. However, there has not yet been a randomized controlled trial comparing mindfulness to an active control condition. In this study, we assessed the efficacy of a mindfulness training program (MAP) compared to structured psychoeducation (PE).

Methods: After randomization 81 medication-free adult ADHD patients participated either in an 8-week MAP or PE group program. At baseline (T1), after 8 weeks (T2) and after 8 months (T3), severity of ADHD and associated symptoms (depression, general psychopathology, quality of life) were measured with the Conner's ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the SF-36 by self and blind observer ratings.

Results: Both groups showed significant pre-post improvements in observer-rated Inattention scale (p < .001, partial η2 = 0.18) and in associated symptomatology, which persisted through 6 months of follow-up. There were no significant differences regarding symptom reduction between the treatment groups. Women benefited more compared to men irrespective of treatment group. Men showed the most pronounced changes under MAP.

Conclusions: In the current study, MAP was not superior to PE regarding symptom reduction in adult ADHD. Both interventions, mindfulness meditation and PE, were efficacious in reducing symptom load in adult ADHD. Furthermore in exploratory post hoc tests the study provides evidence for a potential gender-specific treatment response in adult ADHD.

Keywords: Adult ADHD; Gender; Mindfulness; Psychoeducation; Psychotherapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Atomoxetine Hydrochloride / therapeutic use
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Treatment Outcome*

Substances

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Atomoxetine Hydrochloride