For Which Children with ADHD is TBR Neurofeedback Effective? Comorbidity as a Moderator

Michelle E. Roley-Roberts, Xueliang Pan, Rachel Bergman, Yubo Tan, Kyle Hendrix, Roger deBeus, Cynthia Kerson, Martijn Arns, Nadja R. Ging Jehli, Shea Connor, Constance Shrader, L. Eugene Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined psychiatric comorbidities moderation of a 2-site double-blind randomized clinical trial of theta/beta-ratio (TBR) neurofeedback (NF) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Seven-to-ten-year-olds with ADHD received either NF (n = 84) or Control (n = 58) for 38 treatments. Outcome was change in parent-/teacher-rated inattention from baseline to end-of-treatment (acute effect), and 13-month-follow-up. Seventy percent had at least one comorbidity: oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) (50%), specific phobias (27%), generalized anxiety (23%), separation anxiety (16%). Comorbidities were grouped into anxiety alone (20%), ODD alone (23%), neither (30%), or both (27%). Comorbidity (p = 0.043) moderated acute effect; those with anxiety-alone responded better to Control than to TBR NF (d = − 0.79, CI − 1.55– − 0.04), and the other groups showed a slightly better response to TBR NF than to Control (d = 0.22 ~ 0.31, CI − 0.3–0.98). At 13-months, ODD-alone group responded better to NF than Control (d = 0.74, CI 0.05–1.43). TBR NF is not indicated for ADHD with comorbid anxiety but may benefit ADHD with ODD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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