Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effectiveness of a New Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention for College Students with ADHD
Solanto MV, Scheres A.
J Atten Disord. 2020 Sep 3:1087054720951865.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: The early adult years are a time in which ADHD may have the highest impact on functional outcomes. Young adults face a steep gradient in demands for executive function and life skills, while learning to live on their own, the loss of parental support, and the loss of the IEP accommodations that supported their success through high school. All this is occurring while being exposed to new risks such driving, substances, and sexual relationships. Pills don’t build skills. Teaching college students’ skills, while also offering them both insight and the shared experience of being with others facing the same challenges, makes great clinical sense. The challenge may be to engage those students who need it most.
Objective: This purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a new group cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) to enhance executive function (EF) in college students with ADHD.
Methods: Eighteen students meeting rigorous DSM-5 criteria for ADHD were enrolled in two nine-member groups. The treatment targeted time-awareness, distractibility, procrastination, and failure to plan, and included strategies to facilitate academic EF skills.
Results: Eighty-four percent of students attended nine or more of the 12 weekly sessions. Repeated measures analyses of change from pre- to posttreatment yielded improvement in clinician- and self-ratings of DSM-5 ADHD inattentive symptoms, with robust effect sizes. Also improved were scores on standardized scales of time-management, concentration, and total EF.
Discussion: Results provide support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a CBT program in reducing inattentive symptoms and enhancing EF in college students with ADHD, and warrant investigation on a larger scale.
* 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. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.