Cogmed Working Memory Training for Youth with ADHD: A Closer Examination of Efficacy Utilizing Evidence-Based Criteria

Anil Chacko, Nicole Feirsen, Anne Claude Bedard, David Marks, Jodi Z. Uderman, Alyssa Chimiklis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The current review applied the evidence-based treatment criteria espoused by the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Silverman & Hinshaw, 2008) to specifically evaluate the short-term and longer term efficacy of Cogmed Working Memory Training (CWMT) as a treatment for youth with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Utilizing a systematic literature search, 7 studies that employed the school-age version of CWMT were identified for this review. The data reviewed herein suggest mixed findings regarding the benefit of CWMT for youth with ADHD. Two randomized controlled studies have demonstrated that CWMT led to improvements in neuropsychological outcomes and parent-rated ADHD symptoms relative to wait-list control and placebo treatment conditions. Another study demonstrated effects of CWMT relative to a placebo condition on an analog observation of behavior during an academic task, although this study did not find an effect of CWMT on parent-rated ADHD. Finally, an additional study utilizing an active comparison control condition did not find incremental benefits of CWMT on parent- or teacher-rated ADHD. Critical issues in interpreting existing studies include lack of alignment between demonstrated outcomes and the hypothesized model of therapeutic benefit of CWMT, issues with equivalence of control conditions, and individual differences that may moderate treatment response. Collectively, the strengths and limitations of the studies reviewed suggest that CWMT is best defined as a Possibly Efficacious Treatment for youth with ADHD. We suggest future directions for research and conclude with clinical implications of our findings for the treatment of youth with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-783
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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