Treatment choices and experiences in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder: relations to parents' beliefs and attributions

Child Care Health Dev. 2005 Nov;31(6):669-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2005.00555.x.


Background: Despite their potential to influence treatment decisions, parents' beliefs and attitudes regarding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have not been widely studied. This research examined relations between parents' beliefs and attitudes and their experiences with different treatments for their children's ADHD.

Methods: Canadian parents of 73, 5- to 13-year-old, boys with ADHD completed questionnaires measuring beliefs about ADHD, attributions for ADHD behaviours, and treatment experiences.

Results: Parents reported using primarily behaviour management and stimulant medications in treating ADHD. Approximately half of the families also used diet/vitamin therapies. Parents were knowledgeable about ADHD and held generally accurate beliefs. They saw ADHD symptoms as predominantly internal to the child and as relatively enduring and pervasive. Parents' beliefs were related to their use of different treatments and parents who used less empirically supported treatments were more likely to see ADHD behaviours as internal to the child, enduring and pervasive.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of assessing parents' use of alternate treatments for ADHD and the potential role of parents' beliefs and attributions in shaping treatment choices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diet therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Health
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Vitamins