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Effects of Game-Based Relaxation Training on Attention Problems in Anxious Children

Michele Knox Ph.D., Jennifer Lentini M.D., and Stacey Aiton

The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, OH., 2011.

To read the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

Results of recent research have suggested that game-based, biofeedback relaxation training may reduce symptoms of both Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Anxiety Disorders in children and youths. Inattention and poor concentration are common features of both of these disorders. However, it has not yet been explicitly studied whether the problems with attention and concentration that are characteristic of anxious youths may be lessened with this intervention. The present study examines the effects of an intervention combining game-based relaxation training with psychoeducationand behavioral practice in a sample of twenty-three 9 to 17 year olds. It was hypothesized that intervention participants would show significant improvements on the attention problems subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist – Parent Report Form relative to participants in the waitlist control group. Results indicated significant improvements in posttest attention problems scores for the intervention group relative to the control group. The findings of this preliminary study suggest that game-based relaxation training may be beneficial for attention and concentration problems in anxious children and adolescents.