A new study has shown that parents of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can benefit from mindfulness training.
ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in which sufferers struggle to control impulses, keep attention, and regulate emotional responses. Children with the disorder are usually treated with medication and/or behavioural treatments, however, medication on its own has been found to be insufficient in a quarter to a third of children.
For that reason, scientists decided to investigate whether mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) would have a positive effect on children who did not respond well to other ADHD treatments.
For their study, they compared two groups of children between the ages of eight and sixteen - one group received only regular care while the other also received MYmind, the mindfulness-based intervention (MBI), with at least one parent.
After the eight-week study period, the researchers discovered that the parents especially benefitted from the training as they noticed an increase in mindful parenting, self-compassion and an improvement in mental health among them, and those effects were still present for six months after the training.
In the children, there were some effects on ADHD symptoms, anxiety, and autistic traits, but these were small. However, one in three kids improved their self-control after doing the MBI training compared to one in ten in the regular care group.
Corina Greven, Professor of Environmental Sensitivity in Health at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said, "While effects in children were small, we still found effects in the parents. Interviewing families, our team also discovered that many families reported important improvements in family relationships and insight in and acceptance of ADHD. We need to go broader than just looking at whether an intervention reduces symptoms, and include additional outcomes that families find important."
The findings were published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.