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Systematic review of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD

Abstract

Meditation-based interventions such as mindfulness and yoga are commonly practiced in the general community to improve mental and physical health. Parents, teachers and healthcare providers are also increasingly using such interventions with children. This review examines the use of meditation-based interventions in the treatment of children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Electronic databases searched included PsycINFO, Medline, CINAHL, and AMED. Inclusion criteria involved children (aged to 18 years) diagnosed with ADHD, delivery of a meditation-based intervention to children and/or parents, and publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Studies were identified and coded using standard criteria, risk of bias was assessed using Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies- of interventions (ROBINS-I), and effect sizes were calculated. A total of 16 studies were identified (8 that included children in treatment, and 8 that included combined parent–child treatment). Results indicated that risk of bias was high across studies. At this stage, no definitive conclusions can be offered regarding the utility of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD and/or their parents, since the methodological quality of the studies reviewed is low. Future well designed research is needed to establish the efficacy of meditation-based interventions, including commonly used practices such as mindfulness, before recommendations can be made for children with ADHD and their families.

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Contributions

Authors Evans and Sciberras designed the study. Authors Evans, Ling and Hill conducted literature searches and undertook the analyses. Author Evans wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Subhadra Evans.

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All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Funding for this study was provided by a Deakin University Central Research Grants Scheme.

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Evans, S., Ling, M., Hill, B. et al. Systematic review of meditation-based interventions for children with ADHD. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 27, 9–27 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-017-1008-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-017-1008-9

Keywords

  • Review
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • ADHD
  • Child