Media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis

Dev Psychol. 2014 Sep;50(9):2228-41. doi: 10.1037/a0037318. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


There are several theoretical reasons to believe that media use might be related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or ADHD-related behaviors (i.e., attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity). Although studies into the media-ADHD relationship have accumulated, they have yielded inconsistent results. Therefore, we still do not know whether children's media use and ADHD-related behaviors are related and, if so, under which conditions. To fill this gap in the literature, we first identified 6 different hypotheses that may explain why media use in general and viewing fast-paced or violent media content might be related to 1 or more ADHD-related behaviors. Subsequently, we conducted a meta-analysis of 45 empirical studies investigating the relationship between media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents. Our results indicated a small significant relationship between media use and ADHD-related behaviors (r+ = .12). Finally, we identified several specific gaps in the existing literature and presented 5 crucial directions for future research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Attention*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Computers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Video Games / psychology