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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017 Oct 30;19(12):93. doi: 10.1007/s11920-017-0850-2.

Social Skills Training and ADHD-What Works?

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University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada.
University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada.



Many children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulties in their social skills and peer relationships. Because social problems exacerbate later maladjustment in ADHD populations, it is important to address this serious impairment. Although social skills training (SST) is a common intervention approach, evidence to date suggests that SST has limited efficacy, at least when provided in traditional, clinic-based settings. The current review summarizes recent advances to traditional SST approaches that may potentially enhance their efficacy.


We identify two promising directions in which SST may be modified to make it more efficacious for ADHD populations. The first direction involves providing increased reinforcement and reminders of appropriate social behavior at the point of performance to youth with ADHD (e.g., in vivo, in real life peer situations as opposed to in the clinic). We note the importance of ensuring that youth with ADHD are receptive to such reminders. The second direction involves encouraging peers to be more socially accepting and inclusive of youth with ADHD. This avenue has been understudied in the literature to date. SST for children and adolescents with ADHD may be enhanced by providing more in vivo reminders and feedback at the point of performance and by making efforts to alter peers' impressions about youth with ADHD.


ADHD; Intervention; Literature review; Peer problems; Social skills training

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