A new CcaM meta-analysis shows a positive relationship between media use (television viewing and video game playing) and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents. The more time children spend using media in general and using violent media in particular, the higher their ADHD-related behaviors. The relationship seemed somewhat larger in boys compared to girls.
Overall, the association between media use and ADHD-related behaviors was small (r = .12). Given the importance that media plays in children’s lives today, identifying even small relationships between media and ADHD-related behaviors has important implications for research and practice.
Importantly, the results of this study do not indicate direction of effect. It is unclear whether media use can induce ADHD-related behaviors or whether children with higher ADHD-related behaviors have different media preferences compared to children with less ADHD-related behaviors. This study does, however, clearly show several critical gaps in the literature. In particular, research is needed to identify the direction of effect as well as to explain why this relationship exists.
In past decades, there has been a growing interest as to whether media use and ADHD-related behaviors are linked. The findings of previous studies, however, have been mixed. Although some studies did find that the two are related, other studies did not find such a relationship. This meta-analysis combined the results of these studies to identify whether this relationship actually exists. In total, this meta-analysis analyzed 45 studies that had investigated the relationship between television viewing and/or video gaming and ADHD-related behaviors.
The study was conducted by two CcaM researchers: Sanne Nikkelen and Professor Patti Valkenburg, in collaboration with Mariette Huizinga (VU University) and Brad Bushman (Ohio State University and VU University).
Click here to read the article “Media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents: A Meta-analysis” published in Developmental Psychology.