Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 131–142 | Cite as

A Randomized Trial of Two Promising Computer-Based Interventions for Students with Attention Difficulties

  • David L. RabinerEmail author
  • Desiree W. Murray
  • Ann T. Skinner
  • Patrick S. Malone


Few studies have examined whether attention can be improved with training, even though attention difficulties adversely affect academic achievement. The present study was a randomized-controlled trial evaluating the impact of Computerized Attention Training (CAT) and Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) on attention and academic performance in 77 inattentive first graders. Students receiving either intervention were more likely than controls to show a moderate decline in teacher rated attention problems in first grade. Students receiving CAI also showed gains in reading fluency and in teacher ratings of academic performance. Intervention effects for attention were absent by second grade largely because attention problems declined in all groups. However, post hoc analyses indicated potential longer-term benefits for children with 6 or more inattentive symptoms at baseline. Persistent attention problems were associated with poorer academic performance in multiple domains. Results provide initial evidence that CAT and CAI can improve children’s attention in the classroom - and support additional studies to determine whether more clinically significant benefits are attainable.


Attention ADHD Academic achievement Attention training Computer-assisted instruction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Rabiner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Desiree W. Murray
    • 3
  • Ann T. Skinner
    • 2
  • Patrick S. Malone
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Child and Family Policy/Dept. of Psychology & NeuroscienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Center for Child and Family PolicyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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