Objectives: To examine the immediate and long-term effects of executive attention training on selective attention, focused attention, and divided attention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Methods: A double-blind, multisite randomized controlled trial at five sites. Seventy participants (mean age: 78.19 ± 7.22 years) were assigned to an experimental group (executive attention training, n = 35) or an active control group (n = 35). The training duration was the same for both groups (45 minutes per session, 3 times per week, 18 sessions in total). Primary outcome measure was selective attention (Digit Span Task). Secondary outcome measures included focused attention (Stroop Color Word Test) and divided attention (Trail-Making Test Part B). Data were collected at pretest, post-test, 3-month follow-up, and 6-month follow-up. Results: In GEE analysis, findings indicated a significant improvement in selective attention at post-test, whereas divided attention showed significant reducing omission error at 3-month follow-up. There was no significant effect of group in focused attention associated with the executive attention training compared with active control group. Conclusion: The executive attention training significantly improved selective attention and divided attention performance. Future studies should identify transfer effects of attention training, and that can employ early screening to provide integrated attention training, and decrease its relevant risks on competency in performing daily activities, such as falling and driving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1267
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Attention training
  • divided attention
  • focused attention
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • selective attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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