African American Caretakers' Views of ADHD and Use of Outpatient Mental Health Care Services for Children

Matthew P. Mychailyszyn, Susan dosReis, Mary Anne Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Despite the extensive research on childhood Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), there is still much to learn about the association between the meanings parents ascribe to an ADHD diagnosis and their use of outpatient mental health services for their children. This study examined primarily African American mothers' experiences with their child's ADHD in order to develop a theory that links conceptualization of ADHD with implications for clinical outpatient mental health services. Semi-structured interviews with 34 parents of children 6 to 18 years old and recently diagnosed with ADHD probed for understanding of their child's behaviors and their treatment expectations. Using a grounded theory approach, a theoretical model emerged describing a process of how parents making sense of ADHD, either as a medical illness, a general problem, or a behavior that was not a problem. Making sense involved forming opinions, contemplating the origin, and reevaluating self-control. Stages in this process can be used by clinicians to educate and to assist families with treatment decisions that they are comfortable with. In the end, this may improve parents' adherence to their children's mental health treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • ADHD
  • children
  • mental health services
  • parental perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'African American Caretakers' Views of ADHD and Use of Outpatient Mental Health Care Services for Children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this