Educational practitioners’ beliefs and conceptualisation about the cause of ADHD: A qualitative study
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Taylor and Francis
Reason for embargo
Objectives: Educational practitioners play an important role in the referral and treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to explore how educational practitioners conceptualise their beliefs about the causes of symptoms of ADHD. Method: Forty-one educational practitioners from schools in the United Kingdom participated in focus groups or individual interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Practitioners’ beliefs fell into two categories: biological and environmental. Practitioners conceptualised the causes of ADHD in lay-theoretical models: a ‘True’ ADHD model considered that symptoms of ADHD in many cases were due to adverse environments; and a model whereby a biological predisposition is the root of the cause of the child’s symptoms. Conclusion: Differential beliefs about the causes of ADHD may lead to practitioners blaming parents for a child’s behaviour and discounting ADHD as a valid condition. This has implications for the effective support of children with ADHD in schools.
This research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South West Peninsula at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. This study was funded by a University of Exeter Medical School PhD studentship.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties on 30/01/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/13632752.2016.1139297
Vol. 21, pp. 101 - 118