Physical Health, Media Use, and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents With ADHD During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Australia

Emma Sciberras, Pooja Patel, Mark A Stokes, David Coghill, Christel M Middeldorp, Mark A Bellgrove, Stephen P Becker, Daryl Efron, Argyris Stringaris, Stephen V Faraone, Susannah T Bellows, Jon Quach, Tobias Banaschewski, Jane McGillivray, Delyse Hutchinson, Tim J Silk, Glenn Melvin, Amanda G Wood, Anna Jackson, George LoramLidia Engel, Alicia Montgomery, Elizabeth Westrupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the impact of COVID-19 restrictions among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: Parents of 213 Australian children (5–17 years) with ADHD completed a survey in May 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions were in place (i.e., requiring citizens to stay at home except for essential reasons). Results: Compared to pre-pandemic, children had less exercise (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.4; 95% CI 0.3–0.6), less outdoor time (OR = 0.4; 95% 0.3–0.6), and less enjoyment in activities (OR = 6.5; 95% CI 4.0–10.4), while television (OR = 4.0; 95% CI 2.5–6.5), social media (OR = 2.4; 95% CI 1.3–4.5), gaming (OR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.3–3.0), sad/depressed mood (OR = 1.8; 95% CI 1.2–2.8), and loneliness (OR = 3.6; 95% CI 2.3–5.5) were increased. Child stress about COVID-19 restrictions was associated with poorer functioning across most domains. Most parents (64%) reported positive changes for their child including more family time. Conclusions: COVID-19 restrictions were associated with both negative and positive impacts among children with ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-562
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of attention disorders
Issue number4
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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  • ADHD
  • COVID-19
  • psychological well-being


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