Nagata, J. M., Chu, J., Ganson, K. T., Murray, S. B., Iyer, P., Gabriel, K. P., … & Baker, F. C. (2023). Contemporary screen time modalities and disruptive behavior disorders in children: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 64(1), 125-135.
Cross-sectional studies have demonstrated associations between screen time and disruptive behavior disorders (conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder); however, prospective associations remain unknown. This study’s objective was to determine the prospective associations of contemporary screen time modalities with conduct and oppositional defiant disorder in a national cohort of 9–11-year-old children.
We analyzed data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (N = 11,875). Modified Poisson regression analyses were conducted to estimate the associations between baseline child-reported screen time (total and by modality) and parent-reported conduct or oppositional defiant disorder based on the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KSADS-5) at 1-year follow-up, adjusting for potential confounders.
Participants reported an average of 4 hr of total screen time per day at baseline. Each hour of total screen time per day was prospectively associated with a 7% higher prevalence of conduct disorder (95% CI 1.03–1.11) and a 5% higher prevalence of oppositional defiant disorder (95% CI 1.03–1.08) at 1-year follow-up. Each hour of social media per day was associated with a 62% higher prevalence of conduct disorder (95% CI 1.39–1.87). Each hour of video chat (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.21, 95% CI 1.06–1.37), texting (PR 1.19, 95% CI 1.07–1.33), television/movies (PR 1.17, 95% CI 1.10–1.25), and video games (PR 1.14, 95% CI 1.07–1.21) per day was associated with a higher prevalence of the oppositional defiant disorder. When examining thresholds, exposure to >4 hr of total screen time per day was associated with a higher prevalence of conduct disorder (69%) and oppositional defiant disorder (46%).
Higher screen time was prospectively associated with a higher prevalence of new-onset disruptive behavior disorders. The strongest association was between social media and conduct disorder, indicating that future research and interventions may focus on social media platforms to prevent conduct disorder.