Attention, play, and social behavior in ADHD preschoolers

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1992 Jun;20(3):289-302. doi: 10.1007/BF00916693.


We investigated attention, play and nonplay behavior in preschool children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a matched control group of non-ADHD children. Forty 4- to 5-year-old children (20 ADHD and 20 matched control) participated. Across a 6-week-period, children's social and play interactions as well as nonplay behaviors were videotaped in the classroom. Videotape recordings were analyzed for the level of attention, cognitive play, and social participation. In addition, children's level of attention and cooperative behavior were observed during two group activities. Findings indicated that ADHD, relative to non-ADHD, children engaged in less overall play and greater functional or sensorimotor play. ADHD children also engaged in more transitional behavior, were less competent with peers, and were less attentive and cooperative during group activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Attention*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychology, Child
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Behavior*
  • Videotape Recording