Motor Functional Characteristics in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

Shunsuke Takagi*, Hikaru Hori, Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Takashi Maruo, Hidehiko Takahashi, Shinichiro Ochi, Masaki Nishida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has various influences on physical abilities. Identification of specific physical abilities of people with ADHD/ASDs as biomarkers for diagnosing these conditions is necessary. Therefore, in the present review, we aimed firstly to extract the difference in physical abilities of people with ADHD or ASDs compared to those of normal individuals. Secondly, we aimed to extract the specific physical ability characteristics for identifying potential diagnostic biomarkers in people with ADHD/ASDs. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed. The databases were searched for relevant articles on motor function deficits and characteristics of ADHD or ASD. Results: Forty-one cross-sectional studies and three randomized controlled trials were identified, comprising 33 studies of ADHD, 10 studies of ASDs, and 1 study of both ADHD and ASDs. The quality of studies varied. Three types of physical activities/exercises were identified, including coordinated movement, resistance-type sports, and aerobic-type sports. People with ADHD/ASDs generally exhibited poorer physical abilities for all types of activities, possibly because of low levels of physical activity. Specifically, we found temporal discoordination of movement in ADHD and integration or synchronization of separate movements in ASDs. Conclusion: Specific deficits in physical ability may be attributed to ADHD/ASDs. However, there is not enough research on the physical abilities of people with ADHD and ASDs to clarify the specific deficits. Investigation of specific motor functions that characterize ADHD/ASDs should be facilitated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1695
Number of pages17
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • coordination
  • motor function
  • neural deficits
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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