Though children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at risk for impulsive, health-endangering behavior, few studies have examined non-substance use-related risk-taking behaviors. This study examined whether adolescents and young adults with ADHD histories were more likely than those without ADHD histories to report frequent engagement in motorsports, a collection of risky driving-related activities associated with elevated rates of physical injury. Path analyses tested whether persistent impulsivity, comorbid conduct disorder or antisocial personality disorder (CD/ASP), and heavy alcohol use mediated this association. Analyses also explored whether frequent motorsporting was associated with unsafe and alcohol-influenced driving.
Two-hundred and twenty-one adolescent and young adult males (16–25 years-old) diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and 139 demographically-similar males without ADHD histories reported their motorsports involvement. Persistent impulsivity, CD/ASP, heavy drinking, and hazardous driving were also measured in adolescence/young adulthood1
Adolescents and young adults with ADHD histories were more likely to report frequent motorsports involvement than those without childhood ADHD. Impulsivity, CD/ASP and heavy drinking partially mediated this association, such that individuals with ADHD histories, who had persistent impulsivity or CD/ASP diagnoses, were more likely to engage in heavy drinking, which was positively associated with frequent motorsporting. Motorsports involvement was associated with more unsafe and alcohol-influenced driving, and this association was more often found among those with, than without, ADHD histories.
Adolescents and young adults with ADHD histories, especially those with persisting impulsivity, comorbid CD/ASP and heavy drinking tendencies, are more likely to engage in motorsports, which may heighten risk of injury.