Social skills training for ADHD has slight evidence base

  • Storebø OJ & al.
  • Cochrane Database Syst Rev
  • 21 Jun 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • The authors of this Cochrane review could not find evidence to support or refute the benefits of social skills training for children ages 5-18 years with ADHD.
  • They say that the evidence base for adolescents is “especially weak.”

Why this matters

  • The review updates a previous version , adding 14 new studies but not changing the conclusions.
  • Pharmacological treatment does not usually resolve social skills issues associated with ADHD, leading to a search for behavioral therapies that might be effective. 

Key results

  • In 17 of 25 randomized trials, most participants had other diagnoses in addition to ADHD.
  • The trainings used were described in different ways (e.g., life skills, social skills, cognitive behavioral therapy).
  • Bias risk was high in more than half of the trials.
  • Most did not address group differences in medications for accompanying conditions.
  • Certainty of evidence was determined to be low or very low.
  • No measures emerged as showing a clinically relevant treatment effect.
  • The authors also found no reports of serious adverse events.

Study design

  • A Cochrane review of 25 randomized trials represented in 45 publications and involving 2690 children with ADHD, ages 5-17 years.
  • Funding: University of Southern Denmark, others.

Limitations

  • Trials were small, prone to selection bias.