The meaning of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication and parents' initiation and continuity of treatment for their child

Susan DosReis, Matthew P. Mychailyszyn, Sara E. Evans-Lacko, Alicia Beltran, Anne W. Riley, Mary Anne Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine parents' early understanding of medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in relation to decisions to initiate and continue treatment for their child. Methods: Qualitative, semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 48 parents of children newly diagnosed with ADHD. Parents were recruited from inner city, outpatient primary care, and mental health clinics affiliated with a large university hospital. Data were analyzed using grounded theory. Results: Parents' initial perspectives of the appropriateness, anticipated effects, and symbolic meaning of medication were classified by four typologies (illness oriented, problem oriented, generally acceptable, unacceptable). In this sample, 29% of parents believed medication was required to treat the illness and 20% believed medication was unacceptable. Except for the unacceptable group, nearly all of the parents in the other groups initiated medication shortly after diagnosis. More than 80% of the illness- and problem-oriented groups used medication at 6 months; this fell to 64% and 78%, respectively, at 12 months. Only half of the unacceptable group ever used medication for their child. Conclusions: Parents' views of ADHD medication may be predictive of continuity of treatment. Increasing physician awareness of parent preferences for managing their child's ADHD problems may lead to care management plans that maximize continuity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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