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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2019, Article ID 5682050, 16 pages
Review Article

Behavioral and Cognitive Impacts of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review

1Universite du Quebec à Montréal, Education and Pedagogy Department, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3P8
2Bishop’s University, Psychology Department, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1M 1Z7
3Universite du Quebec à Trois-Rivières, Sciences Education Department, Trois-Rivières, Canada G9A 5H7
4McGill University, Educational and Counselling Psychology, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1Y2

Correspondence should be addressed to Hélène Poissant; ac.maqu@eneleh.tnassiop

Received 10 August 2018; Revised 18 December 2018; Accepted 20 January 2019; Published 4 April 2019

Academic Editor: Jesus Pastor

Copyright © 2019 Hélène Poissant et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are becoming increasingly popular as treatments for physical and psychological problems. Recently, several studies have suggested that MBIs may also be effective in reducing symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most studies have examined the effectiveness in children, but there are now a sufficient number of individual treatment trials to consider a systematic review in adults. Majority of existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses only consider ADHD symptoms as an outcome, and most of them do not fully report potential biases of included studies, thus limiting considerably their conclusions. This is an important facet because some studies could be found ineligible to be included in future analysis due to their low quality. In this systematic review, we followed the PRISMA/PICO criteria and we thoroughly assessed the risks of bias for each of the selected studies according to Cochrane guidelines. We searched the available literature concerning MBIs in adult participants with ADHD using PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and ERIC databases. In total, 13 studies conducted with 753 adults (mean age of 35.1 years) were identified as eligible. Potential moderators such as participants’ age, ADHD subtypes, medication status, comorbidity, intervention length, mindfulness techniques, homework amount, and training of therapists were carefully described. Aside from measuring the symptoms of ADHD, outcome measures were categorized into executive/cognitive functioning, emotional disturbances, quality of life, mindfulness, and grade point average at school. According to presented descriptive results, all the studies (100%) showed improvement of ADHD symptoms. In addition, mindfulness meditation training improves some aspects of executive function and emotion dysregulation. Although these are promising findings to support treatment efficacy of MBIs for ADHD, various biases such as absence of randomization and lack of a control group may affect the actual clinical value and implications of the studies. Moreover, the relatively low quality of selection and performance criteria in several studies, as well as relatively high attrition bias across studies, call for caution before considering conducting further analysis.