Evaluation of a structured skills training group for adolescents with ADHD – study protocol of a randomized controlled trial

Evaluation of a structured skills training group for adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – study protocol of a randomized controlled trial


Meyer J, Ramklint M, Hallerbäck MU, Lööf M, Isaksson J.


BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 10;19(1):171.

doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2133-4.


Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: We need to develop interventions that are tailored to the unique needs of adolescents with ADHD



BACKGROUND: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a negative impact on several domains of life. However, there is a shortage of evidence-based non-pharmacological treatments for adolescents with ADHD. A structured skills training group (SSTG) based on dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) has been used in adult patients with ADHD with some promising results, although the treatment has not yet been adapted or evaluated for adolescents with ADHD. This study protocol describes how this treatment was adapted for an adolescent population and how the efficacy of the SSTG will be evaluated using a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design.


METHODS: A sample of 184 adolescents (15-18 years of age) with a diagnosis of ADHD has been recruited from seven child and adolescent psychiatric outpatient units and randomized to either the SSTG or an active control group based on psychoeducation. Measures are conducted weekly during the treatment, as well as 2 weeks before treatment and 2 weeks and 6 months after treatment. The primary outcome measures are ADHD symptoms, functional impairment, quality of life and mindfulness. Secondary outcome measures are symptoms of comorbid psychopathology, perceived stress and sleep problems. This article describes the design, methods and analysis plan for evaluating the efficacy of the SSTG.


DISCUSSION: The study will be the first RCT to examine the acceptability and efficacy of a SSTG based on DBT adapted for adolescents with ADHD. We believe that the study will extend the current knowledge base about psychological treatment for adolescents with ADHD.


TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN17366720). Retrospectively registered May 112,016.


* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion, is not approved, or necessarily representative, of the opinion of the CADDRA board.


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