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J Psychiatr Res. 2011 Jun;45(6):808-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.11.010. Epub 2010 Dec 7.

The influence of television and video game use on attention and school problems: a multivariate analysis with other risk factors controlled.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & Criminal Justice, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX 78045, USA.



Research on youth mental health has increasingly indicated the importance of multivariate analyses of multiple risk factors for negative outcomes. Television and video game use have often been posited as potential contributors to attention problems, but previous studies have not always been well-controlled or used well-validated outcome measures. The current study examines the multivariate nature of risk factors for attention problems symptomatic of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and poor school performance.


A predominantly Hispanic population of 603 children (ages 10-14) and their parents/guardians responded to multiple behavioral measures. Outcome measures included parent and child reported attention problem behaviors on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) as well as poor school performance as measured by grade point average (GPA).


Results found that internal factors such as male gender, antisocial traits, family environment and anxiety best predicted attention problems. School performance was best predicted by family income. Television and video game use, whether total time spent using, or exposure to violent content specifically, did not predict attention problems or GPA.


Television and video game use do not appear to be significant predictors of childhood attention problems. Intervention and prevention efforts may be better spent on other risk factors.

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