The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural play therapy on the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children aged 7–9 years

  • Ebrahim Abdollahian
  • Naghmeh Mokhber
  • Atena Balaghi
  • Fatemeh Moharrari
Original Article


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is considered to be the most prevalent disorder of childhood and adolescence, and a variety of methods have been used in its diagnosis and treatment. This study was conducted to study the efficacy of play therapy on the symptoms of ADHD in children aged 7–9 years. Using a clinical trial design, we selected 30 study participants among individuals who had been referred to the Ebne-sina hospital, child and adolescent outpatient clinic, Mashhad, Iran, and who had been diagnosed with ADHD by psychiatrists. The 30 study participants were then divided into two groups, experimental and control, based on similar characteristics (Birth order, parents’ educational level, parents’ occupation and average of last year school marks). Pre-tests (the Rutter Parental Questionnaire and the Rutter Children Behaviour Questionnaire for teachers) were performed prior to play therapy, and all patients in both groups had been receiving medication. Following play therapy, post-tests were also conducted for both groups. Eight sessions of sham play therapy has been performed for case group. (Cognitive-behavioural play therapy has not been performed basically.) All results were evaluated using an independent t test and a comparative test. Play therapy appeared to significantly reduce the symptoms of ADHD. The significant differences found between the experimental and control groups indicate that play therapy could be used as an effective treatment method for children with ADHD.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Play therapy Children Cognitive behaviour approach 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ebrahim Abdollahian
    • 1
  • Naghmeh Mokhber
    • 1
  • Atena Balaghi
    • 1
  • Fatemeh Moharrari
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Ibn-e-Sina Hospital, Faculty of MedicineMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran

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