The Effect of Exergaming on Executive Functions in Children with ADHD: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Benzing, Valentin Johannes; Schmidt, Mirko (2019). The Effect of Exergaming on Executive Functions in Children with ADHD: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 29(8), pp. 1243-1253. Wiley 10.1111/sms.13446

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Background: Children with ADHD frequently suffer from deficits in cognitive (i.e. executive functions) and motor abilities. Although medication usually has a positive effect, a lack of commitment and possible side effects result in a need for adjunct or alternative treatments. Thus, the aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of cognitively and physically demanding exergaming on executive functions, ADHD symptoms and motor abilities.
Methods: In a parallel group randomized trial, 51 children between 8-12 years (M = 10.63; SD = 1.32) diagnosed with ADHD were assigned either to an 8-week exergame intervention group (three training sessions per week for 30 min), or a waiting-list control group. The core executive functions (inhibition, switching, updating), parent ratings of symptoms, and motor abilities were assessed/gathered before and after the intervention.
Results: Analyses of covariance (using pre-test values as covariates) revealed that children in the exergame intervention group improved in specific executive functions (reaction times in inhibition and switching), general psychopathology as well as motor abilities compared to control group.
Conclusions: Findings indicate that exergaming might benefit two domains in which frequent deficits can be observed in children with ADHD; executive functions and motor abilities. Given that these beneficial effects in turn might positively affect psychopathology, exergaming could serve as an individualized home-based intervention in the future. However, in order to maximize benefits and make exergaming a valuable adjunct to treatment for children with ADHD, customized exergames are needed.
Clinical trial number: KEK 393/15; DRKS00010171;

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Psychology and Research Methods

UniBE Contributor:

Benzing, Valentin Johannes, Schmidt, Mirko


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment






[UNSPECIFIED] Stiftung Suzanne und Hans Biäsch zur Förderung der Angewandten Psychologie ; [UNSPECIFIED] Hans und Annelies Swierstra Stiftung




Valentin Johannes Benzing

Date Deposited:

09 May 2019 09:10

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:28

Publisher DOI:


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