Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) could benefit both children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their parents, according to a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. Although ADHD is generally treated through medication and/or behavioral treatments, in more than 25% of children, these treatments alone are insufficient. According to the investigators, MBIs can elicit positive effects on psychological symptoms and behavior in both children and parents.
The study compared 2 cohorts of children between 8 and 16 years of age. One of the 2 groups received only care-as-usual (CAU) whereas the other cohort also received the MBI MYmind with at least 1 parent conducted over 8 weeks.
According to the investigators, the children experienced some small effects on ADHD symptoms, anxiety, and autistic traits, with a particular subgroup benefitting from the training. One in 3 children reliably improved self-control through the use of MYmind, while 1 in 10 improved following CAU.
The parents benefitted especially from this training, demonstrating an increase in mindful parenting, self-compassion, and an improvement in mental health. These impacts remained visible 6 months after the conclusion of the training.
“While effects in children were small, we still found effects in the parents,” said Corina Greven, PhD, professor of environmental sensitivity in health and psychologist, in a press release. “Interviewing families, our team also discovered that many families reported important improvements in family relationships and insight in and acceptance of ADHD. We need to go broader than just looking at whether an intervention reduces symptoms, and include additional outcomes that families find important.”
Greven also said that the typical interventions for children with ADHD do not tend to target the mental health of the parents, despite parents frequently struggling with stress, anxiety, or their own ADHD symptoms.
Families with a child with ADHD can benefit from mindfulness training [news release]. EurekAlert; May 27, 2021. Accessed July 22, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/rumc-fwa052721.php