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First published online July 7, 2009

Television Viewing and Symptoms of Inattention and Hyperactivity Across Time: The Importance of Research Questions


The importance of well-specified research questions in the evaluation of early predictors of later inattention and hyperactivity is examined. In an analysis of a nationally representative sample of 2,717 children aged 4 to 10, latent growth trajectories for television viewing and inattention and hyperactivity are determined and the relationship of the two constructs examined. Analyses reveal a logistic latent growth model as the best description of the trajectory of television viewing across time, whereas a quadratic trend represents the best portrayal of the trajectory for symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. Results do not support the presence of a meaningful relationship between television viewing and inattention and hyperactivity, which is inconsistent with previous findings from the same data set. The importance of the nature of well-specified research questions and the need to use contemporary longitudinal evaluation techniques to avoid misleading conclusions based on limited analyses and results are discussed.

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Published In

Article first published online: July 7, 2009
Issue published: June 2009


  1. television
  2. early childhood
  3. longitudinal studies
  4. attention and behavior problems

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Issue published: June 2009
Published online: July 7, 2009



Tara Stevens
Lucy Barnard-Brak
Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Yen To
Texas Tech University, Lubbock

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This article was published in Journal of Early Intervention.


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