An Attention-Specific Intervention for Adults with ADHD

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Virginia Tech


Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) consists of symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity that cause significant functional impairment (APA, 1994). Approximately 4.7% of adults are diagnosed with ADHD; however, there are few empirically-informed interventions that are specifically designed for adults. Instead, many of the common interventions for adults are derived from work done with children with ADHD and may not be appropriate for their particular needs (Weiss & Weiss, 2004). Given that adults with ADHD typically experience more symptoms of inattention rather than hyperactivity, an investigation of the effectiveness of an intervention that specifically targets their inattentive symptoms is warranted (Weiss & Weiss, 2004; Weiss et al., 2002). Therefore, the goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an attention-specific intervention for adults with ADHD.

The intervention used in this study, Attention Process Training (APT; Sohlberg & Mateer, 1987), has never been applied to adults with ADHD. The underlying assumption behind this intervention is that attentional functioning can be improved through the use of tasks that are designed to re-train various aspects of attention. More specifically, this study addressed sustained, alternating, and selective/divided attention during the intervention. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design was used in order to assess the effectiveness of the APT among a sample of adults with ADHD. A sample of four adults, aged 21-37 years (M = 27.75) participated in this study and demonstrated minimal changes in their attentional ability after the intervention. In addition, the findings suggest that the different components of attention addressed in this intervention are not distinct and likely have a reciprocal affect on one another.



Attention Training, Intervention, Adult ADHD