blog Publications 2019

How do adolescents with ADHD use and interact with the internet?

An enormous improve in the prevalence of know-how throughout a number of points of every day life has led to a change in the means adolescents categorical themselves and interact with their friends, with a big impression on their social perform (Spies Shapiro, Margolin. 2015). Regardless of this, little is understood about how adolescents with ADHD, who’re usually vulnerable to social difficulties, use know-how to interact with their peers. Subsequently, the purpose of this research was to examine how teenagers with ADHD use the internet, assessing how online behaviours are associated with offline behaviours (Dawson et al. 2019).

Individuals with ADHD* have been recruited from the Bridges to Schooling Success for Teens (BEST) Undertaking, which was a large cross-site intervention research carried out in Ohio and Pennsylvania in the US. The BEST Venture was carried out across three totally different cohorts spanning 2015–2016, 2016–2017 and 2017–2018. Individuals have been asked to finish a web-based survey relating to their know-how use, which consisted of three separate score scales (Online Behaviour Demographic Questionnaire, the European Cyberbullying Venture Intervention Questionnaire and the Sexting Questionnaire†). Teenagers’ Facebook behaviours have been assessed by double-coding their Facebook account using the Mikami and Szwedo’s Facebook Coding Guide Members. Double-coded entries have been then combined into imply scores and Fb timelines coded for the following indicators:

  1. Friendship and exercise indicators: included number of Fb buddies, complete variety of posts, the unique variety of buddies that posted on the participant’s timeline, and the “reactions” given to posts.
  2. Content exchanged: included proportion of posts that have been shared from exterior material, in addition to people who shared accomplishments and/or contained inappropriate behaviour.
  3. Relationship high quality: connection codes that evidenced that individuals and their buddies have been truly related by a selected reference to earlier or future meetings; proportion of posts containing emotional help or relational aggression.
  4. International codes: captured a basic sense of all content material inside the coding period; 4 broad categories have been rated on a 5-point Likert scale including narcissism, excessive self-disclosure, constructive emotion and adverse emotion.
  5. Teen offline behaviour scores: included the completion of various score scales to self-assess a variety of behaviours.
  6. Mother or father offline behaviour scores: included the completion of quite a lot of score scales for folks to evaluate a variety of behaviours.

Nearly all of individuals have been males (72.four%), who primarily reported their ethnicity as non-Hispanic (86.3%) and their race as white (81.1%). Members have been both in the ninth (, 10th (36.2%) or 11th grade (13.eight%), with a mean age of 14.48 years. All individuals had a previous analysis of ADHD, with 58.2% recognized with mixed ADHD presentation and 41.8% recognized with inattentive presentation. Most individuals didn’t report taking treatment (65.5%), but 32.4% reported taking stimulants.

The primary results from the research have been as follows:

  • Social networking use: 92.5% of members reported logging on every day, with 91.4% using social networking sites. Of those, Instagram was the hottest (81.1%), adopted by Snapchat (79.2%), Fb (67.9%) and Twitter (45.3%).
  • Facebook use: Most teenagers occasionally used Facebook, predominantly partaking in passive actions somewhat than lively engagement. On common, teenagers maintained a large network of ‘friends’ (imply = 494; median = 223) and most members (80.4%) made ≥1 submit on their timeline throughout the period of the research. Generally, individuals predominantly shared exterior content material on their timelines (imply = 51%), sharing more external content material on their timelines than their buddies (mean = 51% vs 11%, respectively; t[25] = 5.66; p < 0.001; d = 1.43). Members more regularly shared exterior content that conveyed humour or emotion, and have been also more more likely to submit inappropriate content material compared with their pals (imply = 7% of individuals’ posts vs 2% of associates’ posts, respectively; t[25] = 2.53; p = 0.0018; d = 0.66).‡
  • Cyberbullying: 60.three% and 39.7% of members reported ≥1 incident of victimisation and/or aggression, respectively. Of these reporting cyberbullying, the majority reported repeated events, qualifying as a “victim” (48.3%) and/or an “aggressor” (32.eight%). Being a sufferer of cyberbullying considerably elevated the probability of additionally being a cyber-aggressor (X2[1] = 30.28, p < zero.001, odds ratio [OR] = three.11).
  • Sexting: Whilst the majority of individuals (72.four%) reported never sending or receiving a sext, 17.2% and 25.8% reported sending and/or receiving a sext, respectively. Individuals who had acquired a sext have been more more likely to send a sext (X2[1] = 25.64; p < 0.001; OR = 68.40).
  • Association between web uses and online danger behaviours: Compared with individuals who occasionally used Facebook, frequent customers have been at higher probability of interaction with weak social connections and a lower probability of interacting with relations. On-line risk-taking behaviours have been usually related; for example, members who reported receiving a sext have been at an increased probability of being a cyber-victim (X2[1] = eight.44; p = zero.zero44; OR = 7.14) and cyber-aggressor (X2[1] = 6.55; p = zero.010; OR = 5.00). Comparable results have been reported for members who reported sending a sext (cyber-victim: X2[1] = 9.07; p = 0.003; OR = 15.18; cyber-aggressor X2[1] = 12.99; p < zero.001; OR = 15.11).
  • Comparisons between on-line and offline behaviours: Relative to online danger behaviours, members with larger parent-reported emotional dysregulation, in addition to larger self-reported impulsiveness, risk-taking, nervousness and melancholy, have been at elevated probability of sending and/or receiving sexts. Equally, teens with these parent- and self-reported signs, as well as parent-reported oppositional defiant disorder signs, have been more more likely to be cyber-victims and/or cyber-aggressors. On average, teens who reported using Fb (and usually utilizing it with higher frequency) had larger ranges of self-reported nervousness, melancholy and parent-reported emotional dysregulation.

The authors said that this was the first investigation to comprehensively discover the technology-mediated social interactions of teenagers with ADHD utilizing multiple strategies and measures. Regardless of this, this research was related with numerous limitations. First, the research included a small sample measurement (growing the probability of Sort II errors) and included numerous exams (growing the probability of Sort I errors), which can have confounded outcomes; subsequently, conclusions must be interpreted with warning. Moreover, the research didn’t embrace a comparator group, which leaves unclear what elements are distinctive to the current pattern versus generalisable to teenagers with ADHD. Finally, the nature of Facebook and different social networking websites makes it attainable for customers to domesticate their profiles by deleting posts upon reflection; subsequently, posts that have been coded as a part of the research have been solely these accredited by the participant to be observed by their community of friends.

General, this research recommended that teenagers with ADHD use know-how in an analogous approach to the basic population, however could also be at increased danger of cyberbullying behaviours. Moreover, using Facebook could also be associated with online risks (e.g. weak online connections) and offline dangers (e.g. poorer social expertise and extra internalising signs). The authors said that future analysis ought to give attention to exploring tips on how to regulate, monitor and lower teenagers’ on-line risk-taking behaviours. Clinicians also needs to contemplate together with discussions of social networking sites as part of ADHD administration methods, and ought to perhaps think about screening teenagers who use Fb with excessive frequency for different social or emotional difficulties.

Discover out extra details about how adolescents use and interact with the internet here

*Research individuals have been recognized with ADHD using Diagnostic and Statistical Guide of Mental Issues – 5th Edition criteria by way of empirically supported strategies whereby self-, parent- and teacher-reports of ADHD impairment have been collected by way of interviews and score scales. Eligible individuals included BEST individuals eligible at remedy randomisation (N=186, of which n=92 acquired remedy and n=94 acquired management). Individuals have been excluded in the event that they met criteria for specific co-occurring issues, didn’t meet faculty attendance necessities or had an IQ of <70. All mother and father and teenagers offered their consent
†Online Behaviour Demographic Questionnaire: adapted from the Pew Analysis Centre’s Internet, Science and Tech survey to focus specifically on social networking, but in addition assess individuals’ basic online access and exercise; the European Cyberbullying Undertaking Intervention Questionnaire: 7-point scale together with 22 gadgets, with victimisation (11 gadgets) and perpetration (11 gadgets) subscales; the Sexting Questionnaire: incudes 6 sure/no inquiries to assess if members despatched (3 gadgets) or acquired (3 gadgets) sexts to varying degrees of explicitness. Members have been additional queried about sexting frequency, media used and primary information about the sender/recipient of the sext
‡Sharing of exterior content material was assessed by evaluating the content material shared by the members, as well as buddies’ posts, on their timeline


Dawson AE, Wymbs BT, Evans SW, et al. Exploring how adolescents with ADHD use and interact with know-how. J Adolesc 2019; 71: 119-137.

Spies Shapiro LA, Margolin G. Growing up wired: social networking websites and adolescent psychosocial improvement. Clin Youngster Fam Psychol Rev 2014; 17: 1-18.