Interventions for Adolescents with ADHD to Improve Peer Social Functioning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Morris S, Sheen J, Ling M, Foley D, Sciberras E.
J Atten Disord. 2020 Mar 5:1087054720906514.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: One of the most important developmental tasks of adolescence is the establishment of a peer group. Deficits in social skills are one of the hallmarks of children with neurodevelopment disorders. However, our ability to intervene at the point of impairment for helping adolescents establish healthy peer relationships is limited.
Objective: Peer social functioning difficulties characteristic of ADHD persist into adolescence, but the efficacy of interventions for this age group remains unclear.
Method: A systematic search of non-pharmacological interventions for adolescents with ADHD (10-18 years) identified 11 trials addressing social functioning, of which eight were included in meta-analyses.
Results: Random effects meta-analyses of four randomized trials found no differences in social functioning between treatment and control groups by parent- (g = -0.08 [-0.34, 0.19], k = 4, N = 354) or teacher-report (g = 0.17 [-0.06, 0.40], k = 3, N = 301). Meta-analyses of non-randomized studies indicated participants’ social functioning improved from baseline to post intervention by parent-report, but not teacher- or self-report. All trials had a high risk of bias.
Conclusion: These results highlight the paucity of research in this age group. There is little evidence that current interventions improve peer social functioning. Clearer conceptualizations of developmentally relevant targets for remediation may yield more efficacious social interventions.
* 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.