Does acute aerobic exercise increase attention in adults with self-reported ADHD symptoms indicated by a change in eye blinks and CPT-II scores?

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University of New Brunswick


Purpose: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is the world’s leading child neurobehavioral disorder (Zimmerman, 2003; Wigal, Emmerson, Gehricke & Galassetti, 2012), and it is increasingly being recognized that adults also suffer from the disorder. For years the preferred management option for the disorder has been medication, but the proposed research helps support the promotion of exercise as a management intervention for adults with ADHD. Method: Ten adult self-reported ADHD participants (based on their responses to the Amen and ASRS screening questionnaires) (M=24.2 years, SD=3.94) consisting of 7 males and 3 females, along with 10 matched (M=24 years, SD=3.65, 3 males and 7 males) non-ADHD participants completed the Conners’ CPT-II pre and post a 20 min sub-maximal aerobic exercise on the stationary cycle ergometer. Results: A two-way ANOVA was conducted to examine the effects of 20 minutes of exercise on the omission scores between the ADHD and control participants, as well as the commission scores. Exercise had a significant effect on the self-reported ADHD participants with a change in omissions scores (CPT-II) from pre to post exercise, F(1,18)=11.23, p=.004. Conclusion: The results of this study support the promotion of exercise as a management intervention for adults reporting symptoms of ADHD.