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Physical health, media use, and mental health in children and adolescents with ADHD during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

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posted on 2022-05-12, 23:40 authored by E Sciberras, P Patel, MA Stokes, D Coghill, CM Middeldorp, MA Bellgrove, SP Becker, D Efron, A Stringaris, SV Faraone, ST Bellows, J Quach, T Banaschewski, J McGillivray, D Hutchinson, TJ Silk, G Melvin, AG Wood, A Jackson, G Loram, L Engel, A Montgomery, Elizabeth WestruppElizabeth Westrupp
Objective: To examine the impact of COVID-19 restrictions among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: Parents of 213 Australian children (5–17 years) with ADHD completed a survey in May 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were in place (i.e., requiring citizens to stay at home except for essential reasons). Results: Compared to pre-pandemic, children had less exercise (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.4; 95% CI 0.3–0.6), less outdoor time (OR = 0.4; 95% 0.3–0.6), and less enjoyment in activities (OR = 6.5; 95% CI 4.0–10.4), while television (OR = 4.0; 95% CI 2.5–6.5), social media (OR = 2.4; 95% CI 1.3–4.5), gaming (OR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.3–3.0), sad/depressed mood (OR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.2–2.8), and loneliness (OR = 3.6; 95% CI 2.3–5.5) were increased. Child stress about COVID-19 restrictions was associated with poorer functioning across most domains. Most parents (64%) reported positive changes for their child including more family time. Conclusions: COVID-19 restrictions were associated with both negative and positive impacts among children with ADHD.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding support for this project was provided through the Center for Social and Early Emotional Development, a Strategic Research Center of the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Deakin University Australia. A/Prof Sciberras was funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Career (NHMRC) Development Fellowship (1110688) and a veski Inspiring Women's Fellowship. Prof Bellgrove is supported by a Senior Research Fellowship (level B) from the NHMRC. A/Prof Efron was supported by a Clinician Scientist Fellowship from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). A/Prof Hutchinson was supported by a NHMRC Investigator Grant (1197488). MCRI is supported by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support program.


Publication Date



Journal of Attention Disorders





Article Number



14p. (p. 549-562)





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