Evaluation of a School-Based Attention Training Programme for Improving Concentration

Evaluation of a School-Based Attention Training Programme for Improving Sustained Attention: A Cluster Randomised Pilot Study

Sponsors

Lead Sponsor: University of Limerick

Collaborator: Irish Research Council

Source University of Limerick
Brief Summary

This study evaluates a school-based attention training programme for improving sustained attention in children.

Detailed Description

Sustained attention is an elementary attentional function that is essential for effective learning and functioning in school. Poor sustained attention is a relatively common problem in childhood with as many as 24% of children exhibiting frequent inattention. Children with attentional difficulties are at increased risk for a variety of negative educational outcomes, including lower standardised grades, dropping out of school and repeating a year. This evidence highlights the need to develop interventions aimed at enhancing students' sustained attention capacity. Current school-based interventions for student attention problems include intervention strategies targeting behavioural, academic and self-regulation. However, none of these interventions aim to enhance attentional capacity. Attention network training (or attention training) has been identified as a potentially promising intervention for enhancing attentional capacity. This pilot study aimed to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of a theory-driven attention training programme, Keeping Score!, in improving students' capacity to sustain attention in a school setting. Training was based on sustained updating. Children engaged this process by mentally keeping score during an interactive face-to-face game without external aids. The study used a cluster randomised design. Students (N = 36) were assigned based on their class group to either the 6-week attention training programme (n = 18) or an active control (n = 18). Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, immediately after training and an approximate 6-week follow up.

Overall Status Completed
Start Date November 26, 2018
Completion Date May 30, 2019
Primary Completion Date May 30, 2019
Phase N/A
Study Type Interventional
Primary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Change in scores on the Vigil subtest of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children - Second Edition (TEA-Ch2). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in scores on the Cerberus subtest of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children - Second Edition (TEA-Ch2). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in scores on the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) subtest of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children - Second Edition (TEA-Ch2). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Secondary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Change in scores on the Digit Span Backwards subtest of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition (WISC-V). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in scores on the Operation Span subtest of the Adaptive Composite Complex Span (ACCES). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in scores using the Symmetry Span subtest of the Adaptive Composite Complex Span (ACCES). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in scores on the Digit Span Forward subtest of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fifth Edition (WISC-V). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Change in parent ratings of executive function behaviour on the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Second Edition (BRIEF-2). Baseline (pre-training), post-training at approximately 6 weeks after baseline and study completion at approximately 12 weeks after baseline.
Enrollment 36
Condition
Intervention

Intervention Type: Behavioral

Intervention Name: Attention Training

Description: The training was delivered face-to-face in groups of three participants. Participants were involved in a game of table tennis with two players and one spectator. The roles were rotated every 5 minutes so that each participant experienced 10 minutes of play and 5 minutes of observation. The game was played as normal with one point awarded to the player for every score achieved. All 3 players were asked to keep the score of the game in their minds during each 5-minute round. Participants had two objectives 1) to play and win the game and 2) to silently keep the score of the game. The researcher watched the game and accurately kept score, using a notepad. At the end of every 5-minute round, the researcher paused play and asked each child to write down the score they were holding in their mind. The researcher then revealed the true score, asked participants to swap roles and commence another round.

Arm Group Label: Attention Training

Intervention Type: Behavioral

Intervention Name: Active Control

Description: The control group was the same as the training group except for the core training mechanism; children were not required to mentally keep score. The researcher kept score by continually calling out the updated score as each point was won. The observing child was simply told to wait his/her turn.

Arm Group Label: Active Control

Eligibility

Criteria:

Inclusion Criteria: - 4th and 5th class students - aged 9 to 11 years - parent consent and participant assent Exclusion Criteria: -

Gender: All

Minimum Age: 9 Years

Maximum Age: 11 Years

Healthy Volunteers: No

Overall Official
Location
Facility: Department of Psychology, University of Limerick
Location Countries

Ireland

Verification Date

January 2021

Responsible Party

Type: Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation: University of Limerick

Investigator Full Name: Eadaoin Slattery

Investigator Title: Ms.

Keywords
Has Expanded Access No
Number Of Arms 2
Arm Group

Label: Attention Training

Type: Experimental

Description: Engaged in sustained updating by mentally keeping score during an interactive game without written or verbal aids. Participants received 15-minute sessions, three times a week for six weeks (18 sessions in total).

Label: Active Control

Type: Active Comparator

Description: Played the same interactive game as the attention training group without the requirement of mentally keeping score. Participants received 15-minute sessions, three times a week for six weeks (18 sessions in total).

Patient Data Yes
Study Design Info

Allocation: Randomized

Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment

Intervention Model Description: This is a two arm, single-blind, pilot cluster randomised study. Participants were randomly allocated to the attention training group or active control group based on class groups (three class groups of fourth-class students and one class group of fifth-class students).

Primary Purpose: Treatment

Masking: Single (Participant)

Masking Description: Participants and their parents were blind to group allocation.

Source: ClinicalTrials.gov