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Exercise & Executive Functions in Early Childhood

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Betsy Hoza, Ph.D., University of Vermont

Even though the exact etiological mechanisms are not yet known, there is almost universal agreement that Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a biologically based disorder, involving impaired self-regulation and producing cognitive, motor, social, and behavioral consequences. Evidence-based treatments for ADHD focus on reducing symptoms and impairments of the disorder either through pharmacological means, the use of behavioral therapy, or both. Effects from these treatments are difficult to maintain over time (Jensen et al., 2007), and behavioral treatments are viewed as burdensome to implement by some parents and teachers. Furthermore, despite its established efficacy, pharmacological intervention is controversial in society and is viewed as unacceptable to some families. Thus, the need for additional interventions, particularly those with the potential to offer new options to families and to address ADHD symptoms at the level of brain processes, remains pressing. Toward this end, we pursue an exciting new frontier in ADHD research involving the application of an aerobic physical activity intervention for addressing the disorder, as well as its associated impairments. Our project, still in its early stages, approaches this goal from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining expertise in neuroscience, kinesiology and both biobehavioral and clinical psychology. Given that this project is in an early stage, this talk describes its aims and methodology, as data are not yet available for dissemination.

Hoza Presentation Slides (PDF - 245 KB)

Biosketch for Betsy Hoza, Ph.D.

Dr. Betsy Hoza is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont and Faculty Coordinator of the ADHD Specialty Service of the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maine and was a clinical intern and postdoctoral fellow at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She has authored or co-authored over 110 empirical papers or book chapters, and is a co-investigator of the Multimodal Treatment Study for Children with ADHD (MTA Study). She is current Associate Editor of Child Development and past Associate Editor of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

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Last Reviewed: 11/30/2012
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