, Volume 38, Issue 10, pp 563-575

Parental explanatory models of ADHD

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This study describes parents’ explanatory models of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and examines model variation by child characteristics.


Children with ADHD (N = 182) were identified from a school district population of elementary school students. A reliable coding system was developed for parental responses obtained in ethnographic interviews in order to convert qualitative into numerical data for quantitative analysis.


African-American parents were less likely to connect the school system to ADHD problem identification, expressed fewer worries about ADHD-related school problems, and voiced fewer preferences for school interventions than Caucasian parents, pointing to a potential disconnect with the school system.


More African-American than Caucasian parents were unsure about potential causes of and treatments for ADHD, indicating a need for culturally appropriate parent education approaches.