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William J. Harvey, Greg Reid, Gordon A. Bloom, Kerri Staples, Natalie Grizenko, Valentin Mbekou, Marina Ter-Stepanian and Ridha Joober

Physical activity experiences of 12 age-matched boys with and without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were explored by converging information from Test of Gross Motor Development-2 assessments and semistructured interviews. The knowledge-based approach and the inhibitory model of executive functions, a combined theoretical lens, enabled the description of similarities and differences in experiences that emerged during interviews. Skill assessments indicated boys with ADHD were not as proficient movers as their peers without ADHD. Thematic analysis revealed that boys with ADHD reported playing with friends, paid little attention to detail, possessed superficial knowledge about movement skills, and expressed many negative feelings about physical activity. Task-specific interventions and a wider range of mixed methods research are recommended for future research studies in ADHD.

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Scott J. Pedersen, Paul R. Surburg, Matthew Heath and David M. Koceja

The purpose was to investigate central and peripheral processing mechanisms through the use of electromyography (EMG) to determine differences between the performance of children with and without ADHD on a lower extremity choice response time task. Sixteen children with ADHD were tested on and off medication along with 19 children without ADHD. For premotor time, the comparison group performed significantly faster than children with ADHD. The longer latencies exhibited in central processing of children with ADHD were related to midline crossing inhibition (MCI). Medication improved the speed of processing for children with ADHD, but did not negate MCI.

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Anthony D. Mahon, Megan E. Woodruff, Mary P. Horn, Andrea D. Marjerrison and Andrew S. Cole

The effect of stimulant medication use by children with attention deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) on the rating of perceived exertion (RPE)—heart rate (HR) relationship was examined. Children with ADHD (n = 20; 11.3 ± 1.8 yrs) and children without ADHD (n = 25; 11.2 ± 2.1 yrs) were studied. Children with ADHD were examined while on their usual dose of medication on the day of study. HR and RPE, using the OMNI RPE scale, were assessed during a graded exercise to peak voluntary effort. The RPE-HR relationship was determined individually and the intercept and slope responses were compared between groups. The intercept was 132.4 ± 19.5 bpm for children with ADHD and 120.6 ± 15.7 bpm for children without ADHD. The slope was 7.3 ± 1.9 bpm/RPE for the children with ADHD and 8.1 ± 1.6 bpm/RPE for the children without ADHD. For the group with ADHD the intercept and slope values fell outside of the 95% CI observed in the control group. The altered relationship between RPE and HR with stimulant medication use in children with ADHD has practical implications with respect to the use of HR and RPE to monitor exercise intensity.

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Homan Lee, Janice Causgrove Dunn and Nicholas L. Holt

The purpose of this study was to explore youth sport experiences of individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Participants were 6 males (mean age = 22.7 yr) with ADHD who had played 3 or more seasons in team sports during adolescence. Following interpretive phenomenological analysis methodology, each participant completed 2 semistructured interviews. Findings showed that symptoms of ADHD hampered participants’ experiences and led to negative interpersonal and performance-related consequences. On the other hand, participants reported social and stress/energy-release benefits arising from their experiences in sport. Their experiences were therefore complex, and some findings relating to social interactions appeared contradictory (e.g., negative interpersonal experiences vs. social benefits). Supportive coaches, understanding teammates, and personal coping strategies were key factors that enabled participants to realize benefits and, to some degree, mitigate negative consequences associated with their participation in sport.

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William J. Harvey and Greg Reid

The purpose of this study was to present a comprehensive review of research on the movement performance and physical fitness of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and offer research recommendations. Movement behaviors of children with ADHD were described on the basis of 49 empirical studies published between 1949 and 2002. Major results indicated that (a) children with ADHD are at risk for movement skill difficulties, (b) children with ADHD are at risk for poor levels of physical fitness, (c) comorbidity may exist between ADHD and developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and (d) few interventions have focused on movement performance and physical fitness of children with ADHD. Numerous reference citations for seminal review articles on ADHD are provided so that potential researchers or program planners might enter the vast ADHD literature with some ease.

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Claudia Verret, Phillip Gardiner and Louise Béliveau

The purpose of this study was to assess fitness and gross motor performance of children with ADHD, including users and nonusers of methylphenidate medication. Seventy boys took part in the study. Fitness level of children with ADHD using medication or not, including body composition, flexibility, and muscular endurance, was similar to that of a control group. The only difference was observed for body mass index, which was lower in children with ADHD using medication. Aerobic capacity was also similar when measured by a treadmill test. A lower performance was observed when aerobic capacity was estimated using a field shuttle test, however, suggesting that the methodology used is important. Finally, both groups of children with ADHD presented significantly lower scores for locomotion skills.

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Robbi Beyer

The motor proficiency of 56 boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was compared with that of 56 boys with learning disabilities (LD); both groups were divided into two age groups, 7 to 8 years and 9 to 12 years. Boys with ADHD were taking Ritalin and attending public schools. Boys with LD were medication-free and attending private schools for LD. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency–Long Form (BOTMP–LF) was used to measure balance, bilateral coordination, strength, upper limb coordination, response speed, visual-motor coordination, and upper limb speed and dexterity. MANOVA revealed significant main effects for condition and age. Subsequent univariate ANOVAs revealed (a) expected age differences on all but one item and (b) significantly poorer performance for boys with ADHD than boys with LD on all variables except balance, upper limb coordination, and response speed.

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Scott J. Pedersen and Paul R. Surburg

This study investigated the movement preparation (reaction time) and movement execution (movement time) of children with and without ADHD by manipulating the uncertainty of occurrence. Participants performed a seated lower extremity choice response time protocol, which contained either 10% catch trials or 30% catch trials along with 27 empirical stimuli to one of three target directions. Results indicated that children with ADHD were significantly slower at processing lower extremity movements than their peers for the condition with increased number of catch trials, but not the condition with fewer catch trials. These findings suggest that children with ADHD are more affected by the uncertainty of an empirical stimulus during the preparation phase of a movement response than their age-matched peers are.

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William J. Harvey and Greg Reid

The purpose of this study was to describe the fundamental gross motor skills and fitness conditions of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Nineteen children, ages 7 to 12, participated. Gross motor performance was measured by the Test of Gross Motor Development (Ulrich, 1985). Fitness variables were measured by selected items from the Canada Fitness Survey (Fitness Canada, 1985), the CAHPER Fitness-Performance II Test (CAHPER, 1980), and the 20 m Shuttle Run Test (Leger, Lambert, Goulet, Rowan, & Dinelle, 1984). Percentile scores provided individual and group profiles of performance. It was concluded that fundamental gross motor performance and physical fitness of children with ADHD are substantially below average.

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William J. Harvey and Greg Reid

The purpose of this paper is to present a critical analysis of the research methods in adapted physical activity studies about children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The strengths and weaknesses of various research methods are discussed by (a) three main types of research questions, (b) identification and description of research participants, (c) reliability and validity of assessment instruments, (d) data collection procedures, and (e) quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis. Strategies to improve research are embedded in each of the five main categories. It is concluded that substantial methodological inconsistencies exist in the current ADHD physical activity literature base. Future research would be strengthened by incorporating recommended suggestions.