An investigation into the effects of micronutrients on mood and behaviour in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) : a pilot study using a single case ABABA design with six-month follow-up.

Type of content
Theses / Dissertations
Publisher's DOI/URI
Thesis discipline
Degree name
Doctor of Philosophy
University of Canterbury. Psychology
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Gordon, Heather Ann

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood psychiatric disorders characterised by impairments in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Pharmacological and behavioural treatments have been shown to be effective in treating ADHD. However, with 30% of the population that do not respond or respond poorly to pharmacological treatments, and the growing concerns over the long-term impact stimulants may have on the developing brain, investigation into alternative treatments for ADHD is necessary. More recently research has investigated the effectiveness of EMPowerplus (EMP+), a formula containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals in treating ADHD in adults.

The current research examined the effect of EMP+ in treating ADHD in children, following a single-case ABABA design, with a six-month follow-up. Fourteen children between 8 and 12 years of age diagnosed with DSM-IV ADHD took part in the study. Following the baseline assessment, participants took part in an open-label trial of EMP+ for eight weeks, after which EMP+ was withdrawn for four weeks, and then had a final eight weeks on EMP+ and a final four weeks off the micronutrients. A follow-up was conducted approximately six-months after the end of the study. Modified Brinley plots revealed decreased ADHD behaviours, improved mood and improvements in overall functioning during the intervention phases and a reversal in symptoms, decrease in mood and overall functioning during the withdrawal phases. Cohen’s d effect sizes, 95% confidence intervals and t-tests confirmed statistically significant change between the intervention and withdrawal phases.

The current study provides further evidence for the potential of micronutrient interventions as a treatment option for children with ADHD. Further research utilising double-blind placebo-controlled studies is warranted.

ADHD, Micronutrients
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Copyright Heather Ann Gordon