Clinical studies

Psychological treatments for ADHD

Structured skills training for adolescents with ADHD

Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy that targets management of interpersonal relations and emotion dysregulation, and includes elements such as mindfulness and acceptance. In this study, we investigate whether a group treatment based on DBT for adolescents with ADHD is feasible and leads to a reduction in psychiatric symptoms and functional impairment. The study is a randomized controlled multicenter study where 184 adolescents were allocated to either the DBT-based skills training or a psychoeducational group treatment (SKILLS).

Jenny Meyer has written her thesis on the data. Senior researchers are Johan Isaksson and Mia Ramklint.

Psychoeducation for children and adolescents with ADHD

This project aims to investigate the feasibility of a psychoeducational treatment program, SKILLS, for children and adolescents with ADHD. Psychoeducation has been discussed in guidelines as the basis for all ADHD treatment, with the aim of providing the child/adolescent and relatives with knowledge about the diagnosis, possible causes, and prognosis, as well as strategies to better manage challenges in everyday life. The treatment is group-based, and consists of two parts, one offered to children (6-12 years) and guardians, and one offered to adolescents (13-18 years).

SKILLS is developed by Johan Isaksson and Måns Lööf, in collaboration with several child and adolescent outpatient units in Sweden, including Uppsala and Gävle.

Emotion regulation skills training for adolescents with ADHD

In this study, we have designed a treatment where adolescents with ADHD receive knowledge about emotions and strategies to better manage such emotions in challenging situations. Initially, we will evaluate the emotion regulation training programme using a single-case design. In the future, we plan to include a randomized controlled trial in order to evaluate efficacy. The treatment is based on established theories of emotion regulation and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Rebecka Astenvald is a PhD student in the project. Senior researchers are Johan Isaksson and Matilda Frick.

A systematic study of ADHD assessments in child and adolescent psychiatry

Adequate treatment of ADHD requires a correct diagnosis. The assessment process for neurodevelopmental conditions is often more extensive than for other psychiatric disorders,

and is often associated with long waiting lists, thus consuming a large proportion of psychiatric resources. The overarching aim of the present study is to gain knowledge about diagnostic processes to enable valid, reliable, and cost-effective ADHD assessments, and to increase the understanding of mechanisms underpinning ADHD that can aid the diagnostic process. To this end, we will compare a brief and a comprehensive ADHD assessment protocol. Participants in the study are children aged 8 to 16 years who have been referred to child and adolescent psychiatric care for assessment. Participants will be randomized to either the brief or the comprehensive ADHD assessment protocol. We also aim to investigate whether biomarkers in the form of heart rate variability and pupil dilation can serve as diagnostic biomarkers for ADHD.

Senior researchers are Matilda Frick and Johan Isaksson.

Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with ADHD

In this study, we aim to investigate emotion regulation in children and adolescents with ADHD in relation to peers with or without other psychiatric diagnoses. Participating children and adolescents will be asked to complete questionnaires that assess emotional reactivity and regulatory strategies. They will also complete a psychological experiment where they are shown images that have been designed to evoke emotions, which they are also instructed to regulate using an adaptive regulatory strategy. The emotional reaction will be measured using eye-tracking technology and heart rate variability as an index of the autonomic nervous system.

Rebecka Astenvald is a PhD student in the project. Senior researchers are Johan Isaksson and Matilda Frick. The study is a collaboration with Erik Olsson at the Department of Women's and Children's Health, Health Sciences and eHealth, and Johan Lundin Kleberg at Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University.

Last modified: 2023-08-11