Road-crossing safety in virtual reality: a comparison of adolescents with and without ADHD

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2006 Jun;35(2):203-15. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp3502_4.


This study investigated the potential accident-proneness of adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a hazardous road-crossing environment. An immersive virtual reality traffic gap-choice task was used to determine whether ADHD adolescents show more unsafe road-crossing behavior than controls. Participants (ages 13 to 17) were identified with (n = 24) or without (n = 24) ADHD according to a standardized protocol (Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime Version and Conners' Scales), with equal number of boys (n = 12) and girls (n = 12) in each group. ADHD adolescents did not take stimulant medication on the day of testing. Participants with ADHD had a lower margin of safety, walked slower, underutilized the available gap in incoming traffic, showed greater variability in road-crossing behavior, and evidenced twice as many collisions as compared to controls. No sex differences were found. Virtual reality may help identify and educate those at higher risk of being involved in dangerous traffic situations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data
  • Reference Values
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology
  • User-Computer Interface*