Is a Virtual Reality Test Able to Predict Current and Retrospective ADHD Symptoms in Adulthood and Adolescence?

Despite the persistence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) into adulthood and adolescence, there are few objective, reliable instruments (based on patient performance) that have been shown to be able to predict current and retrospective ADHD symptoms. The present study aimed to explore whether a validated VR test called Nesplora Aquarium is able to predict ADHD symptoms in adults and adolescents, based on both current and retrospective self-reports. A non-clinical sample of 156 adults and adolescents (70 women and 86 men) between 16 and 54 years of age (M = 21.23, SD = 8.04) took part in the study. Virtual reality (VR) variables such as the number of correct answers, omission and commission errors, among others, were used to predict current and retrospective self-reported symptoms of ADHD using multiple regression models. Correct answers and omission errors in the VR test significantly predicted both current and retrospective ADHD symptoms. However, only the number of perseveration errors and gender were able to significantly predict retrospective ADHD symptoms. These findings suggest that inattention problems tend to remain after adolescence, while perseveration errors (which have been related to impulsive behavior) and gender differences tend to diminish.




In summary, Nesplora Aquarium has been shown to provide significant predictors of current and retrospective ADHD symptoms in adults and adolescents, combining independence from respondent subjectivity and ecological validity. However, continued work on that explanation is crucial to determine how the symptoms can be either accentuated or masked in adulthood, their real implications in daily life, and the design of appropriate interventions. It is especially important if we consider the potential high prevalence of ADHD symptoms in adulthood [26].

This result shows that this VR test provides reliable and significant predictors in the diagnosis of ADHD in adolescent and adults, since it was designed to eliminate problems of respondent subjectivity and maintain ecological validity, and at the same time provide a variety of objective measures in ADHD diagnosis.

Areces, Débora & Garcia, Trinidad & Cueli, Marisol & Rodríguez, Celestino. (2019). Is a virtual reality test able to predict current and retrospective ADHD symptoms in adulthood?. Brain Sciences. 9. 274. 10.3390/brainsci9100274.


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