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Evaluating Physical Fitness in College Students with and without ADHD

Bedard, Alexis N
Serrano, Judah
The current study examined differences in the cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength components of physical fitness among college students with and without ADHD. We hypothesized that college students with ADHD would be less physically fit in these domains than their peers without ADHD. Students with ADHD were expected (a) to have significantly lower VO2 max as an indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness following a 3-minute step test and (b) to demonstrate less strength in a handgrip dynamometry test compared to their peers. There were 63 participants in this study between the ages of 18 and 25, both male and female. Approximately half of the participants were in the ADHD group (n = 31), and half were in the non-ADHD group (n = 32). To test cardiorespiratory fitness, a 3-minute step test was completed with a 15-second heart rate taken after. Information including heart rate, age, and sex was then used in a validated step test equation to estimate VO2 max. To test muscular strength, participants completed three trials of a handgrip strength test using a dynamometer, and the highest of the three trials was recorded. Descriptive results of independent sample t tests indicated that estimated V02 max in the ADHD group (M = 38.62, SD = 6.96) was lower compared to the non-ADHD group (M = 40.34, SD = 7.05). Results for handgrip strength also showed less strength in the ADHD group (M = 79.75, SD = 26.74) compared to the non-ADHD group (M = 83.80, SD = 27.29). However, these differences failed to meet statistical significance (p = .334 , p = .554, respectively). These findings do not support that college students with ADHD are less physically fit in the cardiorespiratory and muscular strength domains of physical fitness than their peers. However, the effect sizes were small (d = .25, d = .15, respectively), and the study was not powered to detect small effects (only large), suggesting that results should be reevaluated when a larger sample size is attained.
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ADHD,Physical Fitness,College,Cardiorespiratory Fitness,Muscular Strength,VO2 Max,Handgrip Strength
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