Term of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Tamerah Hunt

Committee Member 1

George Shaver

Committee Member 2

Barry Munkasy


Context: Participants with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have shown cognitive impairments that affect coordination, anticipation and planning. In the ADHD population, stimulant medication has shown to have beneficial outcomes for 75% of the people. Unfortunately, in most research, patients with ADHD are excluded and little is known about this population.

Purpose: Determine the effects of stimulant medication in recreationally active ADHD participants on reaction time.

Design: Cross-section between groups design

Methods: Participants were divided into two groups (ADHD and controls). Upon arrival to the Biomechanics Lab participants performed two tests, Mode A and Mode D on the Dynavision D2 (Dynavision International LLC, 2016). Mode A consisted of three practice trials, followed by five test trials. Mode D consisted of one practice trial, followed by seven test trials for each of the three tasks. After completion of all tests, participants completed an effort debriefing. ADHD participants performed one session “on medication” and one session “off medication.” The controls performed both trials at the same interval with no use of medication. Group differences were calculated using a mixed model repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SPSS 23.0 software (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL). Additionally, paired-sample t-tests were calculated to examine ADHD participants “on” verses “off” medication and differences in reaction time variability (RTV).

Results: 34 participants (n=21 controls, n=13 ADHD) completed all testing. A statistically significant difference existed between groups for Mode A (F(1,32)=13.12, p=0.01, Λ=0.71, η=0.29, Cohens D= 0.94), Mode D-Direct (MDD) (F(1,32)=5.61, p=0.015, Λ=0.85, η=0.15, Cohens D= 0.632), Mode D-Circle (MDC) (F(1,32)=3.41, p=0.011, Λ=0.90, η=0.10, Cohens D= 0.433) and Mode D-Horizontal (MDH) (F(1,32)=2.30, p=0.05, Λ=0.93, η=0.07, Cohens D= 0.31), with controls demonstrating faster reaction times. A statistically significant difference was found for medication use during MDC (t(12)=2.35, p=0.04), with ADHD participants demonstrating slower reaction times when off their medication. There was a statistically significant difference for RTV for MDD (t(12)=2.199, p=0.05) on and off their medication.

Conclusion: The use of stimulant medication does not appear to consistently effect reaction time performance. In a recreationally active population, participants with a self-reported diagnosis of ADHD perform slower than controls on reaction time tests. These slower performances could be due to task complexity (inter stimulus intervals), movement patterns of ADHD participants, as well as type of ADHD. Future research should investigate ADHD in Division I college athletes in regards to reaction time (RT) and reaction time variability (RTV) and the effect of ADHD on athletic performance.

Research Data and Supplementary Material