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A cross-sectional analysis of video games and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adolescents

Philip A Chan1* and Terry Rabinowitz2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, Providence, RI, 02912, USA

2 Department of Psychiatry, Fletcher Allen Healthcare, and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT, 05401, USA

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2006, 5:16  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-5-16

Published: 24 October 2006



Excessive use of the Internet has been associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the relationship between video games and ADHD symptoms in adolescents is unknown.


A survey of adolescents and parents (n = 72 adolescents, 72 parents) was performed assessing daily time spent on the Internet, television, console video games, and Internet video games, and their association with academic and social functioning. Subjects were high school students in the ninth and tenth grade. Students were administered a modified Young's Internet Addiction Scale (YIAS) and asked questions about exercise, grades, work, and school detentions. Parents were asked to complete the Conners' Parent Rating Scale (CPRS) and answer questions regarding medical/psychiatric conditions in their child.


There was a significant association between time spent playing games for more than one hour a day and YIAS (p < 0.001), overall grade point average (p ≤ 0.019), and the "Inattention" and "ADHD" components of the CPRS (p ≤ 0.001 and p ≤ 0.020, respectively). No significant association was found between body mass index (BMI), exercise, number of detentions, or the "Oppositional" and "Hyperactivity" components of CPRS and video game use.


Adolescents who play more than one hour of console or Internet video games may have more or more intense symptoms of ADHD or inattention than those who do not. Given the possible negative effects these conditions may have on scholastic performance, the added consequences of more time spent on video games may also place these individuals at increased risk for problems in school.