Effectiveness of goal management training® in improving executive functions: A meta-analysis

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2019 Dec;29(10):1569-1599. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2018.1438294. Epub 2018 Mar 14.


Our objective was to review the literature and quantitatively summarise the effectiveness of Goal Management Training® (GMT) (alone or in combination with other training approaches) in improving executive functions in adult populations. Ovid, Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global were searched for articles citing "goal management training". Any group trials (n > 3) in adults that used multiple-session GMT programmes were included in the analyses. Outcome variables were extracted and classified into one of nine cognitive measures domains: executive functioning tasks, everyday executive functioning tasks, subjective executive tasks rated by the patient, subjective executive tasks rated by proxy, working memory, speed of processing, long-term memory, instrumental activities of daily living and general mental health status questionnaires. A total of 21 publications, containing 19 separate treatment group samples were included in the final analyses. Significantly positive small to moderate effect sizes were observed in all cognitive measure domains (except speed of processing) with effects maintained at follow-up assessments for all followed-up outcome measures, except for subjective ratings by patients and proxy. The analysis suggests that GMT is an effective intervention, leading to moderate improvements in executive functions that are usually maintained at follow-up.

Keywords: Attention; Cognition; Executive function; Goal management training; Meta-Analysis; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Executive Function*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome