Physical Health, Media Use, and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents with ADHD During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Australia
Sciberras E, Patel P, Stokes MA, Coghill D, Middeldorp CM, Bellgrove MA, Becker SP, Efron D, Stringaris A, Faraone SV, Bellows ST, Quach J, Banaschewski T, McGillivray J, Hutchinson D, Silk TJ, Melvin G, Wood AG, Jackson A, Loram G, Engel L, Montgomery A, Westrupp E.
J Atten Disord. 2020 Dec 17:1087054720978549.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: Social distancing, online learning have had both positive and negative effects on children – clinicians need to inquire about both.
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.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion. It is not approved or necessarily representative of the CADDRA board.