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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 May;58(5):626-31.

Public knowledge, beliefs, and treatment preferences concerning attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, Indiana University, 1020 E. Kirkwood Ave., Ballantine Hall 744, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to understand the level of public knowledge about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), treatment preferences for the disorder, and their sociodemographic correlates.

METHODS:

A short battery of questions about ADHD was included in the 2002 General Social Survey (N=1,139). In face-to-face interviews, respondents answered questions about whether they had heard of ADHD, what they knew about ADHD, their beliefs about whether ADHD is a "real" disease, and opinions about whether children with ADHD should be offered counseling or medication.

RESULTS:

Just under two-thirds of respondents (64%) had heard of ADHD; most could not provide detailed information about the disorder. Women and those with higher levels of education were more likely to have heard of ADHD; African Americans, members of other nonwhite racial and ethnic groups, and older respondents were less likely to have heard of ADHD. Among respondents who had heard of ADHD, 78% said they believed ADHD to be a real disease; women, white respondents, and persons with higher income most often endorsed that belief. Most respondents (65%) endorsed the use of both counseling and medication, although counseling was endorsed as a sole treatment more often than medication. There were few sociodemographic differences in treatment preferences.

CONCLUSIONS:

The public is not well informed about ADHD. Future media and educational efforts should seek to provide accurate information about ADHD, with a special effort to reach specific populations such as men, nonwhite minority groups, and older Americans.

Comment in

PMID:
17463342
PMCID:
PMC2365911
DOI:
10.1176/ps.2007.58.5.626
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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