Parental Perceptions and Satisfaction with Stimulant Medication for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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ABSTRACT.Few reports have documented parental perceptions of stimulants for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), despite the recent increased use of stimulants among youths. Of 302 parents recruited from six pediatric primary care clinics, 84% completed a survey of their knowledge, attitudes, and satisfaction with the medication their child was taking for ADHD. Two thirds of the parents believed that sugar and diet affect hyperactivity. Although few parents believed that stimulants could lead to drug abuse, 55% initially were hesitant to use medication on the basis of information in the lay press, and 38% believed that too many children receive medication for ADHD. Parents were more satisfied with the behavioral and academic improvement relative to improvement in their child's self-esteem. Attitudes were positively correlated with satisfaction and were more positive among white than nonwhite parents. The findings highlight parental misconceptions and reservations about ADHD medication treatment that require clarification as to whether race/ethnicity, income, and social status influence their views and use of treatments. J Dev Behav Pediatr 24:155-162, 2003. Index terms: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, attitudes, satisfaction, stimulant medications, survey research.

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