• Examining the Effects of Cell Phone Use in an ADHD Population


    PI:
    Megan Narad, MA
    Collaborators: Jeff Epstein, PhD; Gerry Matthews, PhD (University of Cincinnati)

    The primary goal of this study is to examine the detrimental effects of cell phone use on driving performance among adolescents with ADHD in comparison to their non-ADHD peers. While there are a number of studies looking at the impact of cell phone use on driving performance, as well as the driving performance of children with ADHD, there are currently no studies that examine the impact of cell phone use on the driving performance of individuals with ADHD.  

    A total of 60 adolescents (30 ADHD and 30 non-ADHD) between the ages of 16-17 will be recruited to participate in this study. Each participant will complete a 40-minute simulated drive. During the drive, participants will be engaged in a cell phone conversation for 10 minutes, engaged in a text message exchange for 10 minutes, and drive uninterrupted for the remaining 20 minutes. Teens will be video-taped during the simulated drive in order to observe their visual attention during the driving task.  Information regarding divided attention, driving history, driving behavior, mood states, personality traits, and engagement in the driving task will be collected from each person as well.  

    The dependent variables for the driving task include a general measure of vehicle control (standard deviation of lateral position), braking reaction time in response to unexpected events in the roadway, and maximum speed. These variables will be analyzed to address the following aims:

    • Aim 1 involves the comparison of the driving performance of teenagers with ADHD to that of teenagers without ADHD.
    • Aim 2 examines the impact of cell phone use (both texting and talking) on adolescent driving performance.
    • Aim 3 assesses the differential impact of cell phone use on driving performance of adolescents with and without ADHD.
    • Aim 4 involves the examination of the influence of potential moderators on the relationship between cell phone use and simulated driving performance. We expect that driving performance may be moderated by variables such as months of driving experience and cell phone experience.
    • Aim 5 examines the influence of potential mediators in the relationship between cell phone use and simulated driving performance. We expect that variables such as divided attention, visual attention, and engagement in the driving task will mediate the relationship between cell phone use and driving performance.

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