Effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Stimulant Medication on Concussion Symptom Reporting and Computerized Neurocognitive Test Performance

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2015 Nov;30(7):683-93. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv043. Epub 2015 Aug 26.


Effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stimulant medications on concussion measures are unclear. The objectives of this study were to (i) examine consistency of performance in an unmedicated ADHD group and a control group on concussion measures, (ii) assess performance differences between the two groups, and (iii) assess the effect of stimulant medication on performance in the ADHD group. College-aged participants (22 ADHD and 22 matched controls) were administered a symptom checklist and a computerized neurocognitive test (CNS Vital Signs, CNSVS) 3 times (1 week apart): Sessions 1 and 2 were unmedicated for all participants; Session 3 was medicated for the ADHD group. The reliability of the measures (intraclass correlation coefficients, ICC2,1) was consistent for both groups. When unmedicated, the ADHD group performed worse than controls on psychomotor speed [F(1,40) = 15.19, p < 0.001], and worse than when medicated on reaction time [F(1,39) = 6.34, p = 0.02]. The ADHD group performed better and comparable with controls when medicated. Clinicians should take medication status into account when interpreting scores.

Keywords: ADHD; Concussion vital signs; Neuropsychology; Psychometrics; Reliability; Traumatic brain injury.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / drug therapy
  • Brain Concussion / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants