Current evidence strongly points to significant parental concerns about exposing their children to psychopharmacological medications. This is true even with stimulant medications for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an evidence-based treatment for children. Theory and prior evidence would predict that parents' hesitancy to give their children psychopharmacological medication is likely due to what they hear from family and friends about medication's untoward effects. That social networks impact problem definition, treatment evaluation, and service use is well established. However, it is not known how parents make treatment decisions as they cope with the reality that their child might benefit from psychopharmacological medication. The qualitative research described in this paper addresses this gap. A conceptual model is presented that describes parents' treatment decisions and participation in their children's care as they shift from parenting a child with behavioural problems to parenting a child who eventually requires psychopharmacological medication. Further research is needed to evaluate how this model can offer a more comprehensive understanding of how parents respond to a diagnostic label and various treatment options. It is hoped that this research will stimulate innovative approaches for tailoring treatments that are respectful of the individual needs of children and their families.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health