Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exercise and Health Science

First Advisor

Julie A. Wright

Second Advisor

Sarah Camhi

Third Advisor

Heidi Stanish


Objective: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. Children with ADHD and their families utilize services more often than other children, increasing the burden on the U.S. Healthcare system. Although there are various treatment options available, children with ADHD continue to experience difficulties due to deficits in executive functioning (EF). Differences in brain structure and blood flow have been shown to contribute to the difficulties seen in EF in this population. Both acute and repeated bouts of physical activity (PA) have been shown to improve EF in children with ADHD; however, there are limited rigorous studies that have examined the effects of acute bouts of PA on EF in children with ADHD and no known studies have explored the effect of an acute bout of standing on EF in children with ADHD. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of acute bouts of walking and standing on EF in children with ADHD. Method: The study implemented a pretest-posttest randomized controlled group design. A total of 22 children, ages 6 to 11 years old (mean age 9.51 ± 1.42), with a parent reported diagnosis of ADHD were randomized to a 20-minute condition of walking, standing, or sitting (control). EF performance was assessed using the Stroop Color Word Test-Children’s Version (inhibition) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (cognitive flexibility/shifting). Results: None of the analyses showed significant differences in EF performance (p>.05). However, there were positive trends in performance in inhibition and cognitive flexibility/shifting after standing compared to the walking and sitting conditions, and improvements in cognitive flexibility/shifting after walking compared to the sitting condition. Conclusion: To this author’s knowledge, this is one of the first studies to examine the effects of an acute bout of standing on EF in children with ADHD. Unfortunately, this study did not have sufficient power to detect an effect. Larger scale studies examining walking and standing’s effect on EF in this population are warranted.


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