Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder: A critical analysis elucidating constructs that influence parental acceptance/rejection of diagnosis and response

Year: 2008

Author: Dilon, Anthony, Craven, Rhonda, Yeung, Alexander

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a medical explanation for the inattentive and/or hyperactive behaviour of some children is a very contentious issue. While some parents and professionals believe ADHD to be a proven medical disorder, others vehemently doubt its validity. The same degree of disagreement is manifest in adults (both parents and educators) when considering what is the best response for dealing with those children who display ADHD-type behaviours. Regardless of whether or not a parent accepts or rejects ADHD as an explanation for their child's behaviour, these children, if they are of school age, will enter a learning environment that has implicit or explicit procedures for managing children with ADHD. How these procedures impact on the child's learning experiences and outcomes is likely to be significantly influenced by parents' beliefs regarding the nature of ADHD and its underlying causes. It would therefore seem useful to know what factors influence a parent when deciding to accept or reject a diagnosis of ADHD for their child. There is a paucity of research explicating parents' decision-making and responses. This research seeks to capitalize on cutting-edge interdisciplinary theory and research and an innovative multi-method design to elucidate parents' perceptions of ADHD and the impact of psycho-social constructs on parents' decisions to accept/reject a diagnosis.