Evidence-Based Behavioral Treatments for ADHD

Intervention TypeDescriptionTypical Outcome(s)Median Effect Sizea
Behavioral parent training (BPT)Behavior-modification principles provided to parents for implementation in home settingsImproved compliance with parental commands; improved parental understanding of behavioral principles; high levels of parental satisfaction with treatment0.55
Behavioral classroom managementBehavior-modification principles provided to teachers for implementation in classroom settingsImproved attention to instruction; improved compliance with classroom rules; decreased disruptive behavior; improved work productivity0.61
Behavioral peer interventions (BPI)bInterventions focused on peer interactions/relationships; these are often group-based interventions provided weekly and include clinic-based social-skills training used either alone or concurrently with behavioral parent training and/or medicationOffice-based interventions have produced minimal effects; interventions have been of questionable social validity; some studies of BPI combined with clinic-based BPT found positive effects on parent ratings of ADHD symptoms; no differences on social functioning or parent ratings of social behavior have been revealed
  • a Effect size = (treatment median − control median)/control SD.

  • b The effect size for behavioral peer interventions is not reported, because the effect sizes for these studies represent outcomes associated with combined interventions. A lower effect size means that they have less of an effect. The effect sizes found are considered moderate.

  • Adapted from Pelham W, Fabiano GA. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2008;37(1):184–214.