To inform the scope of future systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and treatment outcome studies, this review aims to describe the extent of the evidence for psychosocial interventions for children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, with particular attention to specific types of interventions, targets of outcome assessment, and risk of bias.
A comprehensive search of relevant databases (i.e., Medline, PsychInfo, Education Resources Information Center, and ProQuest Dissertation Database) was conducted. Detailed information related to treatment type, outcome assessment, study design, and risk of bias was extracted by trained coders. Evidence and gap maps were created to summarize evidence within types of treatments and targets of outcome assessment. Indicators of risk of bias were assessed for selected combinations of treatments and outcome assessment.
We identified 185 eligible individual studies and 3817 effect sizes. Behavioral parent training and cognitive training (COG) were the most commonly studied stand-alone interventions. Treatment versus control comparisons for stand-alone interventions (s = 70) were less common than for complex interventions involving combinations of psychosocial interventions (s = 100). Combinations of behavioral and child training (e.g., COG, organizational training) interventions were the most frequently studied.
There is a considerable variability within this literature regarding combinations of treatments across outcome assessment targets. To address gaps in existing evidence, more primary studies assessing direct comparisons of isolated and combined treatment effects of specific types of psychosocial treatments relative to control and other treatments are needed. Future meta-analyses should take into account the complexity and breadth of available evidence.