Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Kevin M. Antshel


ADHD, barriers, parents, stimulant, treatment attitudes, treatment-seeking

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences



Background: Childhood ADHD is an impairing neurodevelopmental disorder with associated long-term negative outcomes in a variety of domains. Despite this, there is a significant delay to treatment and a low rate of lifetime treatment contact for individuals with ADHD. Barriers to child treatment include parental poor symptom recognition, attitudinal barriers, evaluative barriers, fear of stigma, and structural barriers. These barriers are important to consider in the context of the family system, as parents serve as gatekeepers to mental health treatment for their children. In addition, parents’ perceptions of the quality and type of their children’s symptoms may also inform their information-seeking behaviors and ultimately, treatment decisions. The current study aimed to examine (a) variables associated with treatment-seeking attitudes, (b) variables associated with information-seeking behaviors, and (c) the relationship between treatment-seeking attitudes and information-seeking behaviors in a non-treatment-seeking parent sample.

Method: Data from 169 non-treatment-seeking parents were analyzed. All parents participated in an online study that assessed their perceptions of their own children’s symptoms, parenting self-efficacy, satisfaction with treatment providers for themselves and their child, knowledge about ADHD and treatment, symptom recognition, stigma towards ADHD, and treatment attitudes. Information-seeking behaviors were also measured.

Results: Linear and logistic regressions analyzed the association between parental factors and treatment attitudes and information-seeking behavior, as well as the association between attitudes and information-seeking behavior. In these non-treatment-seeking parents, attitudes towards ADHD treatment were significantly associated with ADHD knowledge and misconceptions, causal attributions and understanding of ADHD, parenting self-efficacy, ADHD stigma, ADHD knowledge, and satisfaction with past providers. No hypothesized factors were significantly associated with information-seeking behavior. Attitudes towards treatment and information-seeking behavior were also not significantly associated with each other.

Discussion: Parental knowledge and understanding of ADHD symptoms and treatment, low levels of ADHD stigma, and positive experiences with past medical providers for oneself and one’s child were the best predictors of holding positive attitudes about ADHD treatment. Significant relations between these factors and treatment attitudes and information-seeking behavior did not emerge, however, highlighting the need for additional research on factors associated with treatment attitudes as well as continued study of how best to enhance treatment attitudes.


Open Access



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