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The effects of neurofeedback home training on typically developed and children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a feasibility study

Wachnianin, Hannah Rachel The effects of neurofeedback home training on typically developed and children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a feasibility study. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by the inability to pay attention, inability to control impulsive behaviour and excessive hyperactivity, with prevalence rates in the UK at approximately 3 to 8% (National Institute of Clinical Excellence, 2018). The most common and accepted forms of treatment for ADHD are stimulant medication and behaviour therapy. However, stimulant medication only has a positive effect in approximately 65% of children (Johnston, Coghill, Matthews, & Steele, 2015) with as many as 15% of ADHD patients suffering from side effects including blunting of personality, headaches, lack of appetite (Fox, Tharp, & Fox, 2005). Consequently, a need has been identified for a new treatment with improved long-term effects (Arns, Heinrich, & Strehl, 2014). Evidence suggests that neurofeedback, a brainwave training programme, can normalise electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns and reduce inattentive and impulsive symptoms as a long-term strategy in ADHD (Vernon, Frick, & Gruzelier, 2004). There is a growing need for treatment, specifically neurofeedback, to be accessible at home (Vernon et al., 2004; Rutterford, Anderson, & Venables, 2008) but the effect of this is yet to be investigated. This was the main purpose of the present thesis. The aim of this research was to test the feasibility of neurofeedback home training in both ADHD and typically developed population as well as stimulant medication in combination with neurofeedback home training in an ADHD sample. It was of particular interest to understand the effect of neurofeedback home training on personality, EEG measures, and neuropsychometric measures of inattention and impulsivity. The typically developed sample were randomly allocated to: (a) control group, sample size 15 participants (b) sensorimotor rhythm uptraining neurofeedback home training, sample size 16 participants, or (c) active control group, sample size 16 participants. The ADHD sample were randomly allocated to: (a) stimulant medication, sample size 19 participants, (b) stimulant medication and neurofeedback home training, sample size 8 participants, (c) stimulant medication and neurofeedback in clinic, sample size 4 participants, (d) neurofeedback home training, sample size 3 participants. The ADHD sample completed EEG informed neurofeedback. In both samples, 30 sessions of neurofeedback were completed. Dependent variables, which consisted of personality measures, concentration and impulsivity scales and EEG, were conducted pre- and postintervention, then compared to assess the affect of the interventions. The main results were that: (i) ADHD sample were significantly different to typically developed peers when rated by parents and on CPT, differences were found as expected on personality and EEG measures, but were not significant, (ii) stimulant medication significantly improved executive function, defiance, inattention, hyperactive and impulsive traits when rated by parents in an ADHD population, (iii) neurofeedback in clinic and home training did not significantly effect concentration, impulsivity, personality or EEG in a ADHD or typically developed sample. The work reported here calls into question the use of neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD in a clinical setting. The present study made an original contribution to the neurofeedback field showing neurofeedback home training does not significantly affect concentration, personality of EEG, and contributes to existing knowledge about ADHD.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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