University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Developmental Changes in Media Use in ADHD and Comparison Children

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Many parents and professionals are confronting the challenges of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The role of media habits of these children is particularly controversial. Parents report that television is one of the few activities that can sustain their children's attention, but some experts postulate that the rapid pace of television may worsen, if not cause, ADHD symptomatology. Although media habits may pose a significant concern, little empirical research on this subject exists. This study concentrates on a few central questions. First, are the media habits of children with ADHD significantly different from those of comparison children? For instance, does television viewing replace reading among children with ADHD? Second, do parental beliefs about reading and television differ between these groups and if so are those beliefs manifested in their children's media use? Third, are the media habits of children with ADHD and non-referred children different across age groups? In addition to examining these questions, the longitudinal design of this study also allows us to investigate the ways in which media habits change and develop in specific groups over time. Participants were families of 95 children diagnosed with ADHD and families of 150 comparison children. Parents completed a media-habits questionnaire at two points in time, approximately 18 months apart. The study compares developmental changes in media habits between the two groups. Results suggest that children with ADHD have greater access to and involvement with television, whereas the comparison children have greater access to and involvement with reading material.

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Developmental Changes in Media Use in ADHD and Comparison Children

Many parents and professionals are confronting the challenges of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The role of media habits of these children is particularly controversial. Parents report that television is one of the few activities that can sustain their children's attention, but some experts postulate that the rapid pace of television may worsen, if not cause, ADHD symptomatology. Although media habits may pose a significant concern, little empirical research on this subject exists. This study concentrates on a few central questions. First, are the media habits of children with ADHD significantly different from those of comparison children? For instance, does television viewing replace reading among children with ADHD? Second, do parental beliefs about reading and television differ between these groups and if so are those beliefs manifested in their children's media use? Third, are the media habits of children with ADHD and non-referred children different across age groups? In addition to examining these questions, the longitudinal design of this study also allows us to investigate the ways in which media habits change and develop in specific groups over time. Participants were families of 95 children diagnosed with ADHD and families of 150 comparison children. Parents completed a media-habits questionnaire at two points in time, approximately 18 months apart. The study compares developmental changes in media habits between the two groups. Results suggest that children with ADHD have greater access to and involvement with television, whereas the comparison children have greater access to and involvement with reading material.