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11-09-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2020 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2020

Clinical Effects of an ACT-Group Training in Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2020
Laura Vanzin, Valentina Mauri, Angela Valli, Marco Pozzi, Giovambattista Presti, Annalisa Oppo, Arianna Ristallo, Massimo Molteni, Maria Nobile
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The aim of the present study is evaluate the effectiveness of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based training protocol, in adjunct to token economy and previous parent training, in a sample of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). By promoting the reduction of immediate responses to thoughts and feelings, we aimed to reduce the impulsive behaviour of children and to improve their self-regulation.


The protocol was centred on awareness of the present moment, defusion and acceptance of feelings and emotions. Behavioural (Conners’ Parent Rating Scale -Revised: Long version, CPRS-R:L) and severity measures (Clinical Global Impression -Severity, CGI-S) were assessed before and after treatment in a clinical sample of 31 children aged 8–13 years.


At the end of the ACT protocol, children showed significant improvement in global functioning and behavioural symptoms. There were significant improvements in the CPRS subscales Cognitive Problems (p = 0.005), Hyperactivity (p = 0.006), Perfectionism (p = 0.017), ADHD Index (p = 0.023), Global Index: Restless–Impulsive (p = 0.023), Global Index: Total (p = 0.036), DSM IV Inattentive (p = 0.029), DSM IV Hyperactive–Impulsive (p = 0.016), and DSM IV Total (p = 0.003). When controlling for the confounding effect of pharmacological therapy, comorbidities and socio-economic status, treatment maintained a significant effect on the CPRS subscales Perfectionism (partial η2 = 0.31, p < 0.01), Global Index: Restless–Impulsive (partial η2 = 0.29, p < 0.01), Global Index: Total (partial η2 = 0.31, p < 0.01), DSM IV Hyperactive–Impulsive (partial η2 = 0.20, p = 0.02). Symptom severity as rated by CGI-S scores decreased in 74.2% of the children.


This preliminary work on an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based child training in children affected by ADHD resulted in significant improvements, measured by a rating scale specific for ADHD.

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