Digital Use and ADHD Symptoms

CADDAC National Director

New research just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association is questioning whether heavy use of media platforms over time can increase the presentation of ADHD symptoms in adolescents. The study looked at the use of 14 different digital media activities using platforms such as social media, texting and streaming media in a large number of adolescents, 2587, in grades 10 to 12. According to their responses they were divided into three categories, no use, medium use and high use. Adolescents with pre-existing ADHD symptoms were intentionally excluded from the study.

The study’s findings reported that among adolescents followed up over 2 years, there was a statistically significant but modest association between higher frequency of digital media use and subsequent symptoms of ADHD. The results indicated that those with low use of digital media over the two-year period, about 500 adolescents, had the fewest number of symptoms, 4.6%. Those with highest use of digital media showed the highest rate of ADHD symptoms, between 9.5% and 10.5%. The researchers cautioned that the study's findings did not prove cause and effect; more research would be needed to do so.  However, they were confident in saying that higher levels of digital media use did increase the likelihood of ADHD symptom presentation in the future.

Please access these links for more detailed information and expert opinion on the study.

To view the study overview

Forbes article

Expert Reaction to the study

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