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The Many Channels of Screen Media Technology in ADHD: a Paradigm for Quantifying Distinct Risks and Potential Benefits

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be unusually sensitive to screen media technology (SMT), from television to mobile devices. Although an association between ADHD and SMT use has been confirmed, its importance is uncertain partly due to variability in the way SMT has been conceptualized and measured. Here, we identify distinct, quantifiable dimensions of SMT use and review possible links to ADHD to facilitate more precise, reproducible investigation.

Recent Findings

Display characteristics, media multitasking, device notifications, SMT addiction, and media content all may uniquely impact the ADHD phenotype. Each can be investigated with a digital health approach and counteracted with device-based interventions. Novel digital therapeutics for ADHD demonstrate that specific forms of SMT can also have positive effects.

Summary

Further study should quantify how distinct dimensions of SMT use relate to ADHD. SMT devices themselves can serve as a self-monitoring study platform and deliver digital interventions.

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Funding

This work was partly supported by the C. Keith Conners Fellowship in Digital Health founded by a donation from Multi-Health Systems, Inc.

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Correspondence to Matthew M. Engelhard.

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Matthew M. Engelhard declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Scott H. Kollins reports grants and personal fees from Akili Interactive, Arbor Pharmaceuticals, Bose, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Rhodes, Shire Pharmaceuticals, and Tris Pharmaceuticals.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Attention-Deficit Disorder

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Engelhard, M.M., Kollins, S.H. The Many Channels of Screen Media Technology in ADHD: a Paradigm for Quantifying Distinct Risks and Potential Benefits. Curr Psychiatry Rep 21, 90 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1077-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1077-1

Keywords

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Screen time
  • Mental health
  • Mobile health
  • Digital health
  • Digital therapeutics