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Study: Playing Video Games Increases Kids’ Risk for Developing ADHD Symptoms

February 24, 2022Playing video games may increase adolescents’ risk for developing symptoms of ADHD, according to a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders that shows a positive correlation between hours of video game play at age 12 and the likelihood of self-reported symptoms of ADHD at age 13.1 Contradicting previous research that links ADHD to video game addiction, the study data surprisingly did not show that children with ADHD seek out video games more so than their neurotypical peers.1Researchers used a cross-lagged panel model to analyze both directions of the association between video-game engagement and ADHD symptoms. Participants included 1,467 Canadian youth (754 girls and 713 boys) between the ages of 12 and 13 who self-reported weekly hours of video game play (rated on a scale from zero hours per week to more than 20 hours per week), and ADHD symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity at both 12 and 13 years of age (Participants rated ADHD symptoms on a three-point scale from “Never true” to “Often or very true.”).

Data was collected between 2010 and 2011.This research data indicates that video game play precedes ADHD symptoms, but the reverse is not true. In other words, the length of video game engagement at 12 years of age predicts the likelihood of developing hyperactive and/or inattentive ADHD symptoms at age 13.

However, the presence of ADHD at age 12 does not predict higher-than-average video game engagement at age 13.1 This study contradicts previous research suggesting that adolescents with ADHD symptoms are more prone to play video games.1“It should be emphasized that the impact of video game play on increasing ADHD symptoms, although statistically significant, was modest. The

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