Interventions for Adolescents with ADHD to Improve Peer Social Functioning

Interventions for Adolescents with ADHD to Improve Peer Social Functioning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sarah Morris, Jade Sheen, Mathew Ling, Denise Foley, Emma Sciberras

Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Further evidence of the profound need for further research on treatment options for ADHD in adolescence. This is a high risk group, often unwilling to adhere to medication, with unique psychosocial needs.


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 nonpharmacological 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 nonrandomized studies indicated participants’ social functioning improved from baseline to postintervention 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.


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