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ERIC Number: EJ859259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Critique: Can Children with AD/HD Learn Relaxation and Breathing Techniques through Biofeedback Video Games?
Wright, Craig; Conlon, Elizabeth
Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, v9 p47-52 2009
This article presents a critique on K. Amon and A. Campbell's "Can children with AD/HD learn relaxation and breathing techniques through biofeedback video games?". Amon and Campbell reported a successful trial of a commercially available biofeedback program, "The Wild Divine", in reducing symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a group of children with ADHD and a control group. In summary, Amon and Campbell presented a study with numerous methodological, statistical, and interpretative flaws. In carrying out evaluations of interventions, researchers have an obligation to conduct high quality studies and to present data with clarity. At the every least, the method should be replicable and the psychometric properties of the outcome measures fully described. The clinical meaningfulness of the measures used within a study is pertinent to the clinical significance of the study itself. In this study (Amon & Campbell, 2008) the ADHD questionnaire was unstandardised and the reader therefore has no way to determine the range of "normal". In the absence of this information one might assume that the control group represents "normality". In addition, measures that constitute the amount of change required from pre- to post-intervention that indicate reliable change due to the treatment program (i.e., a reliable change index) and some measure of the clinical significance of the results must also be presented. Either a quantitative approach to clinical significance by determining the proportion of children in the ADHD group who return normal function following an intervention or a measure of the social impact of change should be reported. Amon and Campbell's paper falls short of each of these criteria. The authors' aim in writing this critique is simple. Although on the face of it unlikely to cause harm, alternative treatments for all developmental disorders may give a false sense that the symptoms and impairment are being addressed, thus delaying effective intervention. Clinicians reading this research report will be unable critically to evaluate the research results so would accept the analysis of Amon and Campbell that this intervention has the potential to reduce psychological distress in both the ADHD and the control groups. The data do not support this conclusion. In addition, there are direct costs associated with the treatments as well as potential indirect costs such as loss of wages and time for working parents. In short, Amon and Campbell's data provide unconvincing evidence for biofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD.
Descriptors: Control Groups, Intervention, Video Games, Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorders, Employed Parents, Biofeedback, Psychometrics, Costs, Relaxation Training, Symptoms (Individual Disorders), Questionnaires, Criticism, Outcomes of Treatment
University of Newcastle. School of Education, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/group/ajedp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A