Publication Date

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Tamara McKinnon

Second Advisor

Christine Ortiz

Third Advisor

Margie Krestma

Keywords

Attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), Mindfulness, Children and Adolescents

Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common mental illness in the United States among male and female children and adolescents between the ages of 3 and 17. The emerging fields of neurobiology and neuroimaging have proposed a relationship between mindfulness meditation therapies—initially referred to as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and now simply known as mindfulness—and improvements in attention and self-regulation, two major problem areas for ADHD sufferers. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that mindfulness therapies may be effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD in children and adolescents. The purpose of this paper is to review, analyze and synthesize the available evidence-based research that pertains to ADHD and mindfulness among this demographic. My methodology consisted of a comparison and analysis of peer-reviewed research articles, written in English, concerning controlled and non-controlled studies of the effects of mindfulness on children, adolescents, and ADHD individuals. The results suggested improvements in the quality of scientific research into mindfulness among children and adolescents with ADHD, as well as high potential for the application of mindfulness therapies to this population. However, I also identified persistent research flaws; these included small study sample sizes, insufficient random controlled trials, and insufficient focus on children and adolescents formally diagnosed with ADHD. Nonetheless, this research provides early empirical evidence of the efficacy and harmlessness of mindfulness therapies for children and adolescents. This subject warrants further research, incorporating larger, randomized control trials, which should ideally include ADHD children and adolescents of varying developmental levels, ages, gender, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

 
 

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