Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 7-20-2013


An enduring controversy over the nature of ADHD complicates parents’ decisions regarding children likely to be diagnosed with the condition. Using a fallibilist perspective, this review examines how researchers construe ADHD and acknowledge the controversy. From a systematic literature search of empirical reports using parents of ADHD-diagnosed children as primary informants, 36 reports published between 1996 and 2008 (corresponding to 30 studies) were selected. Data on the studies’ characteristics and methodologies, definitions of ADHD, and extent of the acknowledgment of the ADHD controversy were extracted, as were data on a wide range of parental concerns and experiences. Researchers in 27 of 30 studies define ADHD as a valid disorder, in 22 studies they tend to recommend parental adherence to the biomedical view, and in eight studies they specifically acknowledge an ADHD controversy. This body of studies reports varied and poignant observations on parents’ situations and dilemmas. Still, it largely reflects a Western-ethnocentric view and appears greatly preoccupied with parents who do not medicate their children, ignoring parents’ rationales for using medications.


Office of Research, Scholarship and Writing

Secondary College/Unit

College of Arts, Sciences and Technology

Academic Department

Doctoral Studies

Publication or Event Title

International Journal of Early Childhood







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