Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Epidemiology and Biostatistics



First Advisor

Robert McKeown



Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by impairing symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity and previous literature reported that children with ADHD have poor peer relationships and motor impairment which may lead to decreased participation in organized sports. The primary research aim of this study is to explore the direct and indirect effects that ADHD diagnosis, self-concept of peer relations, and self-concept of physical abilities have on sports participation.

Patients and methods

Preliminary data from the South Carolina Project to Learn about ADHD in Youth (SCPLAY) was employed to investigate peer relations and physical abilities as mediators of the association between ADHD and sport participation. Three hundred and thirty children reported their level of organized sports participation using a Health Risk Behavior Survey derived from the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Regression and path analysis was utilized to determine significant associations and investigate mediation.


A higher percentage of males (68.7%) were diagnosed with ADHD and a higher proportion of participants classified themselves as non-Hispanic White (56%). Polytomous logistic regression revealed that an ADHD diagnosis was related to never participating in sports (OR=5.1; 95%CI 1.19, 21.68) and to low sports participation (OR=2.9; 95%CI 0.99, 8.18). Path analysis revealed peer relations and physical abilities were directly related to sports participation, with corresponding coefficients of -0.02 (p-value=0.04) and 0.04 (p-value<0.001) for a single point change on the Marsh SDQ Scale, respectively.


ADHD diagnosis is related to decrease sports participation. This study also concludes that the direct effects of peer relations and physical abilities on sports participation are significant.