European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 853–867 | Cite as

Long-term far-transfer effects of working memory training in children with ADHD: a randomized controlled trial

  • Aitana BigorraEmail author
  • Maite Garolera
  • Silvina Guijarro
  • Amaia Hervás
Original Contribution


ADHD affects working memory (WM) and other executive functions (EFs) and thereby negatively impacts school performance, clinical symptoms and functional impairment. The main aim of this study was to analyse the efficacy of computerized WM training (CWMT) on EF rating scales. A secondary objective was to assess its efficacy on performance-based measures of EF (PBMEF), learning, clinical symptoms and functional impairment. 66 children with combined-type ADHD between 7 and 12 years of age from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (Spain) were included in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical trial. The participants were randomized (1:1) to an experimental group (EG) (CWMT) (n = 36) or a control group (CG) (placebo training). Assessments were conducted at baseline (T0), 1–2 weeks (T1), and 6 months post-intervention (T2) with the administration of EF rating scales, PBMEF, measures of academic achievement, and questionnaires regarding clinical symptoms and functional impairment. Participants, parents, teachers and professionals who performed the cognitive assessments were blinded. Adjusted multiple linear regression analysis showed significant improvements in EF scales-parent version, from T1 to T2, on the metacognition index [p = 0.03, d′ = −0.78 (95 % CI −1.28 to −0.27)] and on WM (also significant at T2–T0) and plan/organize subscales. Significant improvements were also noted in EF scales-teacher version, from T0 to T1 and T2, on the metacognitive index [p = 0.05, d′ = −0.37 (95 % CI −0.86 to 0.12) T1–T0, p = 0.02, d’ = −0.81 (95 % CI −1.31 to −0.30) T2–T0] and on the initiate, WM, monitor and shift subscales. There were also significant improvements in PBMEF, ADHD symptoms, and functional impairment. CWMT had a significant impact on ADHD deficits by achieving long-term far-transfer effects.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Working memory Computerized cognitive training Cogmed Randomized controlled trial Far-transfer effect 



Maribel Ahuir, Llanos Artigao, Clara Barba, Andrea Bracho, Bernat Carreras, Noemi Carrillo, Marta Doñate, Cristina Enero, Alejandra Escura, Adrian Gaitan, Javi Sanchez, Pablo Vidal-Ribas, Maria Teresa Ordeig, Sylva-Astrik Torossian. This study has received financial support through the Award 22è PREMI FERRAN SALSAS I ROIG—Salut Mental i Comunitat granted by the City Council of Rubi (Spain) in 2010.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

787_2015_804_MOESM1_ESM.docx (66 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 65 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aitana Bigorra
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Maite Garolera
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Silvina Guijarro
    • 2
  • Amaia Hervás
    • 2
  1. 1.Programa de Doctorat de PsiquiatriaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Child and Adolescent Mental Health UnitHospital Universitari Mútua TerrassaTerrassaSpain
  3. 3.Clinical Research of Brain, Cognition and BehaviorConsorci Sanitari de TerrassaTerrassaSpain
  4. 4.Neuropsychology UnitConsorci Sanitari de TerrassaTerrassaSpain
  5. 5.Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941)University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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