Section 66
Chapter 65,719

Can working memory training work for ADHD? Development of central executive training and comparison with behavioral parent training

Kofler, M.J.; Sarver, D.E.; Austin, K.E.; Schaefer, H.S.; Holland, E.; Aduen, P.A.; Wells, E.L.; Soto, E.F.; Irwin, L.N.; Schatschneider, C.; Lonigan, C.J.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 86(12): 964-979


ISSN/ISBN: 1939-2117
PMID: 30507223
Accession: 065718059

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Working memory deficits have been linked experimentally and developmentally with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related symptoms/impairments. Unfortunately, substantial evidence indicates that extant working memory training programs fail to improve these symptoms/impairments. We hypothesized that this discrepancy may reflect insufficient targeting, such that extant protocols do not adequately engage the specific working memory components linked with the disorder's behavioral/functional impairments. The current study describes the development, empirical basis, and initial testing of central executive training (CET) relative to gold-standard behavioral parent training (BPT). Children with ADHD ages 8-13 (M = 10.43, SD = 1.59; 21 girls; 76% Caucasian/non-Hispanic) were treated using BPT (n = 27) or CET (n = 27). Detailed data analytic plans for the pre/post design were preregistered. Primary outcomes included phonological and visuospatial working memory, and secondary outcomes included actigraphy during working memory testing and two distal far-transfer tasks. Multiple feasibility/acceptability measures were included. The BPT and CET samples did not differ on any pretreatment characteristics. CET was rated as highly acceptable by children and was equivalent to BPT in terms of feasibility/acceptability as evidenced by parent-reported high satisfaction, low barriers to participation, and large ADHD symptom reductions. CET was superior to BPT for improving working memory (Group × Time d = 1.06) as hypothesized. CET was also superior to BPT for reducing actigraph-measured hyperactivity during visuospatial working memory testing and both distal far-transfer tasks (Group × Time d = 0.74). Results provide strong support for continued testing of CET and, if replicated, would support recent hypotheses that next-generation ADHD cognitive training protocols may overcome current limitations via improved targeting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

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