Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not “Does cognitive therapy reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in patients older than 12 years old who are diagnosed with ADHD?”

Study Design: Systematic review of three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in peer-reviewed journals in 2016, all English language

Data Sources: Three randomized controlled trials were found using PubMed.

Outcomes Measured: ADHD symptoms and patients’ response to cognitive therapy were measured by patients, parents of patients, and independent evaluators with Disruptive Behavior Disorder rating scales that included four scales of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders 4th edition including (1) ADHD Inattention, (2) ADHD Hyperactivity/impulsivity, (3) Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and (4) Conduct Disorder.

Results: Boyer et al found no significant differences between groups receiving PML and SFT; instead, they found that patients with more ADHD symptoms benefited more from PML while patients with less ADHD symptoms benefited more from SFT. Spirch et al found a statistically significant reduction in parent-rated, patient-rated ADHD symptoms scores and evaluator-rated CGI scores for participants who received cognitive behavior therapy as opposed to the waitlisted group. Likewise, Young et al also found a statistically significant and precise reduction and difference in ADHD symptoms scores between an experimental group receiving CBT and an experimental group continuing with TAU.

Conclusions: All three Randomized Controlled Trials indicate that CBT is effective in treatment of ADHD in patients >12 years old by reducing symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention as outline in the DSM-IV criteria.