Manipulations and Spins in Attention Disorders Research: The Case of ADHD and COVID-19

Yaakov Ophir, Yaffa Shir-Raz

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

4 Scopus citations


This article raises awareness to manipulations and “spins” that occur in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) research. An in-depth inspection was conducted on a high-profile study that suggested that ADHD is a risk factor for infection with COVID-19 and that stimulants reduce that risk (Merzon et al., 2020b). Two additional studies by the same first author were inspected as well, one that was published in the same journal and one that relied on the same dataset. Seven manipulations and spins were identified, including inappropriate operational definitions, misrepresentations, and omissions that produced bogus results and might have concealed potential adverse effects of medications. These distortions illustrate how biased science can contribute to the ethically problematic phenomena of overdiagnosis and overmedication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-113
Number of pages16
JournalEthical Human Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ADHD
  • COVID-19
  • overdiagnosis
  • overmedication
  • research ethics
  • stimulants


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