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Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Mindfulness as a Useful Treatment Modality

Huguet, Anna MS Psych*,†; Izaguirre Eguren, Jon MD; Miguel-Ruiz, Dolores PhD, RN, MHSN‡,§,‖,¶; Vall Vallés, Xavier MS Psych; Alda, José A. PhD, MD*,†

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: July/August 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - p 425–431
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000682
Original Article

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a structured mindfulness group intervention program targeting deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) in a sample of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Method: Seventy-two children aged 7 to 12 years with ADHD were randomized into 2 groups (mindfulness and control). The dysregulation profile was measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Attention/Anxiety-Depression/Aggression scales.

Results: Children with ADHD who received mindfulness-based group therapy showed lower levels of DESR after treatment, with a reduction in CBCL dysregulation profile (F (1,63) = 4.81; p = 0.032). All ADHD symptoms showed a moderately significant positive correlation with DESR (p < 0.01). Children with combined-type showed higher levels of DESR than children with inattentive-type (p = 0.018); however, no statistically significant changes were observed in the combined-type after mindfulness treatment.

Conclusion: This study suggests that mindfulness in the form of structured group therapy might be clinically relevant in treating children with ADHD and thus make an impact on the overall clinical outcome, regardless of the ADHD subtype.

*Children and Adolescent Mental Health Research Group, Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain;

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology Department of Hospital Sant Joan de Déu of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;

Sant Joan de Déu-Fundació Privada, School of Nursing, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;

§Research Group GIRISAME (International Researchers Group of Mental Health Nursing Care), Barcelona, Spain;

Research Group REICESMA (Red Española Investigación de Enfermería en Cuidados de Salud Mental y Adicciones), Barcelona, Spain;

Research Group GIESS (Grupo de investigación en Enfermería, Educación y Sociedad), Barcelona, Spain.

Address for reprints: José A. Alda, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Research Group. Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu. Section Chief Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology Deparment of Hospital Sant Joan de Déu of Barcelona, C/ Passeig de Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; e-mail:

This research was supported by awards from Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and Fundació Sant Joan de Déu (BR201501).

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical considerations: This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee (SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital). All participants were informed of the purpose of the study and signed their informed consent prior to inclusion in the study.

See the Video Abstract at

Received June , 2018

Accepted March , 2019

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