Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Mindfulness as a Useful Treatment Modality

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2019 Jul/Aug;40(6):425-431. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000682.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a structured mindfulness group intervention program targeting deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) in a sample of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Method: Seventy-two children aged 7 to 12 years with ADHD were randomized into 2 groups (mindfulness and control). The dysregulation profile was measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Attention/Anxiety-Depression/Aggression scales.

Results: Children with ADHD who received mindfulness-based group therapy showed lower levels of DESR after treatment, with a reduction in CBCL dysregulation profile (F (1,63) = 4.81; p = 0.032). All ADHD symptoms showed a moderately significant positive correlation with DESR (p < 0.01). Children with combined-type showed higher levels of DESR than children with inattentive-type (p = 0.018); however, no statistically significant changes were observed in the combined-type after mindfulness treatment.

Conclusion: This study suggests that mindfulness in the form of structured group therapy might be clinically relevant in treating children with ADHD and thus make an impact on the overall clinical outcome, regardless of the ADHD subtype.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Anxiety* / etiology
  • Anxiety* / physiopathology
  • Anxiety* / therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / physiopathology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / therapy
  • Child
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Depression* / physiopathology
  • Depression* / therapy
  • Emotional Regulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*