Researchers from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa evaluated a 10-week psychosocial treatment designed specifically for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) & concomitant anxiety disorder.

Using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design, the authors treated 8 children ages 8-12 with ADHD, combined type, and at least 1 of 3 major anxiety disorders (separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia).
The integrated treatment protocol involved parent management training for ADHD and family-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety.

Pretreatment assessments included semi-structured diagnostic interviews and other standardized measures to determine study eligibility.  Children were randomized to 1 of 3 baseline control conditions (2, 3, or 4 weeks) and subsequently treated in a university-based psychosocial treatment clinic. Weekly assessments of ADHD and anxiety disorder symptoms occurred throughout treatment and comprehensive assessments were obtained at pretreatment, 1-week post-treatment, and 6-months post-treatment.

Single-case results supported greater success in the treatment phase relative to the baseline phase for both ADHD and anxiety symptoms, and ADHD and anxiety symptoms appeared to change concurrently.
Pre-post group analyses revealed significant and clinically meaningful improvements in ADHD and anxiety symptoms at 1-week post-treatment, but only anxiety symptoms moved into the subclinical range. At 6-months follow-up, treatment effects were maintained with new movement into the subclinical range for ADHD.

The present study provides initial data on an integrated treatment protocol for ADHD and anxiety. Further replication and evaluation are needed. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Citation:  Jarrett MA, Ollendick TH. Treatment of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety in children: a multiple baseline design analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2012 Apr;80 (2): pages 239-44. Epub 2012 Feb 6. [email protected]