Developing a mindfulness treatment for children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD)

Dr Mairin Taylor

ADHD is a common and debilitating neuro-developmental disorder that affects 5 to 10% of New Zealand children. It is associated with higher rates of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, defiance disorders, risk-taking behaviour and criminal offending.

Health and societal costs associated with ADHD are significant. Several New Zealand studies have indicated that young people with ADHD engage in higher frequencies of alcohol and drug abuse, perpetration of violence, self-harm and suicide.

Looking at the feasibility of MindKiwi

Dr Mairin Taylor and her team from the University of Canterbury will adapt an established mindfulness programme (MyMind) to establish the feasibility of a proposed ADHD treatment programme called MindKiwi. Their work will involve adaptation of the programme to a Kaupapa Māori framework, by including Te Reo Māori and Tikanga principles, which will be achieved through ongoing consultation and partnership with mana whenua and Māori researchers and clinicians.

Once the programme has been successfully adapted, the research team will examine its effectiveness (changes in core ADHD symptoms and improvements in general behaviour and psychosocial outcomes) with children in a New Zealand sample. If efficacy is established, this study will serve as a pilot for a larger randomised control trial (RCT) planned for 2022 with 100+ children to compare multiple ADHD treatments.

Cure Kids recognises the value of this research

ADHD is a common and debilitating condition that affects many New Zealand children. Cure Kids is pleased to be helping Dr Taylor and her team with their mission to improve treatment.