Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 438–444 | Cite as

Youth Views on Communication About ADHD and Medication Adherence

  • Betsy SleathEmail author
  • Delesha M. Carpenter
  • Robyn Sayner
  • Kathleen Thomas
  • Larry Mann
  • Adam Sage
  • Sandra H. Sulzer
  • Adrian D. Sandler
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to examine youth perceptions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) communication with their pediatric providers, their reported adherence to their ADHD medications, and their desired location for an ADHD educational program. Youth ages 7 through 17 with an ADHD diagnosis were recruited. A research associate interviewed the youth. Parents completed demographic questionnaires. Seventy families participated. One-third of the youth wanted more discussion about ADHD with their providers during visits. The average youth had over eight questions about ADHD and its treatment. Most youth wanted to learn about ADHD at their provider’s office. Non-white and older youth were significantly more likely to be less adherent to their ADHD medications. Youth want their providers to engage them more during visits. Providers should take advantage of this interest to engage youth more in discussions regarding ADHD and its treatment during pediatric ADHD visits.


Children Adolescents Youth Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Communication Medication adherence 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper. All authors certify responsibility for this article.

Research Involving Human and Animal Rights

The study was performed in accordance with the tenants of the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and was HIPAA compliant. This study was approved by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institutional Review Board and was conducted with the human subjects’ understanding and consent.


  1. Ahmed, R., Borst, J. M., Yong, C. W., & Aslani, P. (2014). Do parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) receive adequate information about the disorder and its treatments? A qualitative investigation. Patient preference and adherence, 8, 661–670.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Amico, K. R., Fisher, W. A., Cornman, D. H., Shuper, P. A., Redding, C. G., Konkle-Parker, D. J., et al. (2006). Visual analog scale of ART adherence: association with 3-day self-report and adherence barriers. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes, 42(4), 455–459.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Badiee, J., Riggs, P. K., Rooney, A. S., Vaida, F., Grant, I., Atkinson, J. H., et al. (2012). Approaches to identifying appropriate medication adherence assessments for HIV infected individuals with comorbid bipolar disorder. AIDS patient care and STDs, 26(7), 388–394.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Berger, I., Dor, T., Nevo, Y., & Goldzweig, G. (2008). Attitudes toward attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment: parents’ and children’s perspectives. Journal of child neurology, 23(9), 1036–1042.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brinkman, W. B., Hartl, J., Rawe, L. M., Sucharew, H., Britto, M. T., & Epstein, J. N. (2011). Physicians’ shared decision-making behaviors in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder care. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 165(11), 1013–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brinkman, W. B., Sherman, S. N., Zmitrovich, A. R., Visscher, M. O., Crosby, L. E., Phelan, K. J., et al. (2012). In their own words: adolescent views on ADHD and their evolving role managing medication. Academic pediatrics, 12(1), 53–61.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, T. N., Ueno, K., Smith, C. L., Austin, N. S., & Bickman, L. (2007). Communication patterns in medical encounters for the treatment of child psychosocial problems: does pediatrician-parent concordance matter? Health communication, 21(3), 247–256.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen, C. Y., Gerhard, T., & Winterstein, A. G. (2009). Determinants of initial pharmacological treatment for youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 19(2), 187–195.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. DosReis, S., Mychailyszyn, M. P., Evans-Lacko, S. E., Beltran, A., Riley, A. W., & Myers, M. A. (2009). The meaning of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication and parents’ initiation and continuity of treatment for their child. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 19(4), 377–383.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Findling, R. L., Connor, D. F., Wigal, T., Eagan, C., & Onofrey, M. N. (2009). A linguistic analysis of in-office dialogue among psychiatrists, parents, and child and adolescent patients with ADHD. Journal of attention disorders, 13(1), 78–86.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghandour, R. M., Perry, D. F., Kogan, M. D., & Strickland, B. B. (2011). The medical home as a mediator of the relation between mental health symptoms and family burden among children with special health care needs. Academic pediatrics, 11(2), 161–169.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Hack, S., & Chow, B. (2001). Pediatric psychotropic medication compliance: a literature review and research-based suggestions for improving treatment compliance. Journal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology, 11(1), 59–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamrin, V., McCarthy, E. M., & Tyson, V. (2010). Pediatric psychotropic medication initiation and adherence: a literature review based on social exchange theory. Journal of child and adolescent psychiatric nursing : official publication of the Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses, Inc, 23(3), 151–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ivanova, J. I., Birnbaum, H. G., Hsieh, M., Yu, A. P., Seal, B., van der Molen, T., et al. (2008). Adherence to inhaled corticosteroid use and local adverse events in persistent asthma. The American journal of managed care, 14(12), 801–809.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Mattingly, G., Surman, C. B., Mao, A. R., Eagan, C. A., Onofrey, M., & Lerner, M. (2011). Improving Communication in ADHD Care: Results from In-office Linguistic Research. CNS spectrums, 16(4), 85–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Nau, D. P., Steinke, D. T., Williams, L. K., Austin, R., Lafata, J. E., Divine, G., et al. (2007). Adherence analysis using visual analog scale versus claims-based estimation. The Annals of pharmacotherapy, 41(11), 1792–1797.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Pappadopulos, E., Jensen, P. S., Chait, A. R., Arnold, L. E., Swanson, J. M., Greenhill, L. L., et al. (2009). Medication adherence in the MTA: saliva methylphenidate samples versus parent report and mediating effect of concomitant behavioral treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(5), 501–510.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Perwien, A., Hall, J., Swensen, A., & Swindle, R. (2004). Stimulant treatment patterns and compliance in children and adults with newly treated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of managed care pharmacy : JMCP, 10(2), 122–129.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Pliszka, S. (2007). Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(7), 894–921.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Sleath, B., Blalock, S., Covert, D., Stone, J. L., Skinner, A. C., Muir, K., et al. (2011). The relationship between glaucoma medication adherence, eye drop technique, and visual field defect severity. Ophthalmology, 118(12), 2398–2402.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Sleath, B., Sulzer, S. H., Carpenter, D. M., Slota, C., Gillette, C., Sayner, R., et al. (2014). Communication about ADHD and its treatment during pediatric asthma visits. Community mental health journal, 50(2), 185–192.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Spencer, T. J., Biederman, J., & Mick, E. (2007). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis, lifespan, comorbidities, and neurobiology. Journal of pediatric psychology, 32(6), 631–642.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Winterstein, A. G., Gerhard, T., Shuster, J., Zito, J., Johnson, M., Liu, H., et al. (2008). Utilization of pharmacologic treatment in youths with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in Medicaid database. The Annals of pharmacotherapy, 42(1), 24–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Wolraich, M. L., Bard, D. E., Stein, M. T., Rushton, J. L., & O’Connor, K. G. (2010). Pediatricians’ attitudes and practices on ADHD before and after the development of ADHD pediatric practice guidelines. Journal of attention disorders, 13(6), 563–572.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betsy Sleath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Delesha M. Carpenter
    • 2
  • Robyn Sayner
    • 2
  • Kathleen Thomas
    • 3
  • Larry Mann
    • 4
  • Adam Sage
    • 2
  • Sandra H. Sulzer
    • 5
  • Adrian D. Sandler
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services ResearchUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, UNC Eshelman School of PharmacyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and Department of Health Policy and ManagementUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Jeffers, Mann & Artman Pediatric and Adolescent MedicineRaleighUSA
  5. 5.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  6. 6.Olson Huff Center, Mission Health SystemAshevilleUSA
  7. 7.Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

Personalised recommendations