Community Perspectives of Childhood Behavioral Problems and ADHD Among African American Parents

Omolara Olaniyan, Susan dosReis, Victoria Garriett, Matthew P. Mychailyszyn, Julia Anixt, Peter Rowe, Tina L Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To explore parents' perceptions of childhood behavior problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among a sample of African American (AA) parents. Methods: Five focus groups were conducted in inner-city Baltimore and the Washington, DC, metropolitan region with 5 to 7 AA parents per group. Adults with children under the age of 17 years were recruited from pediatric practices. One investigator moderated each focus group, and a second took notes. Sessions averaged 1.5 hours long, were recorded on audiotape, and were transcribed verbatim. The narrative data were coded for recurring themes. Results: Five major themes emerged from the analysis: causes of behavioral problems in children, the legitimacy of ADHD as a diagnosis, attitudes about doctors, opinions of medication, and perceptions of the school environment. Many participants felt that behavior issues, including those accompanying ADHD, were caused by inappropriate parenting and disciplinary practices. Some viewed the diagnosis as a label applied with racial inequality to exert social control over AAs. Several expressed distrust in physicians who were quick to make a diagnosis of ADHD and recommend medications. Others worried that medication would lead to drug addiction in adulthood. Some perceived that children were labeled with ADHD because of poor educational environments that were unresponsive to the needs of AA children. Conclusions: These focus groups identified important community perceptions about ADHD and its medical treatment. Understanding how these perceptions contribute to racial disparities in ADHD diagnosis and treatment can help inform culturally sensitive interventions to improve the management of ADHD among AA children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalAmbulatory Pediatrics
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Fingerprint

Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
African Americans
Parents
Focus Groups
Tape Recording
Illegitimacy
Baltimore
Problem Behavior
Parenting
Substance-Related Disorders
Research Personnel
Pediatrics
Physicians
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • ADHD
  • focus groups
  • parental perceptions
  • racial disparity
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Community Perspectives of Childhood Behavioral Problems and ADHD Among African American Parents. / Olaniyan, Omolara; dosReis, Susan; Garriett, Victoria; Mychailyszyn, Matthew P.; Anixt, Julia; Rowe, Peter; Cheng, Tina L.

In: Ambulatory Pediatrics, Vol. 7, No. 3, 05.2007, p. 226-231.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Olaniyan, Omolara ; dosReis, Susan ; Garriett, Victoria ; Mychailyszyn, Matthew P. ; Anixt, Julia ; Rowe, Peter ; Cheng, Tina L. / Community Perspectives of Childhood Behavioral Problems and ADHD Among African American Parents. In: Ambulatory Pediatrics. 2007 ; Vol. 7, No. 3. pp. 226-231.
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