Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Rudolph Bailey

Second Advisor

Lena Caesar

Third Advisor

Ron Coffen

Abstract

Problem

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent childhood disorders affecting 3 to 5% of school populations in the United States and other countries. Due to the behavioral and/or academic challenges of children with ADHD, they are at risk for grade retention, dropping out of high school, and teenage delinquency, which can lead to negative consequences in society. Children with ADHD are found in every school setting, including parochial schools. Past studies have found teachers and parents have inadequate knowledge about ADHD, which can negatively affect these children. This study investigated what teachers and parents of children in a parochial school system know and believe about ADHD and what predicts their knowledge.

Method

A four-section questionnaire was compiled for this study to investigate the knowledge and beliefs of a convenience sample of 76 regular education teachers and 373 parents in a parochial school system. Questionnaires consisted of knowledge and belief statements, demographic questions, and experience with/exposure to ADHD questions. Descriptive statistics assessed knowledge and belief scores; one-way ANOVA and chisquare analyzed differences between teachers’ and parents’ knowledge and beliefs, and Categorical Regression investigated important contributors to knowledge of ADHD.

Results

Teachers and parents of children in a parochial school system have inadequate knowledge regarding ADHD, but they have positive beliefs in many areas of ADHD. They also believe some of the myths associated with ADHD. Demographic variables and experience with ADHD contributed to teachers’ knowledge regarding ADHD, while exposure to information about ADHD possibly contributed to teachers’ knowledge. Exposure to information about ADHD and experience with an ADHD variable contributed to parents’ knowledge regarding ADHD. Both groups believe they would benefit from additional training and information about ADHD.

Conclusion

Teachers and parents have inadequate knowledge of ADHD. Nonetheless, they have positive beliefs in many areas, but they have negative beliefs about stimulant medication. Experience with ADHD and exposure to information about ADHD can increase teachers’ and parents’ knowledge regarding ADHD. Adequate knowledge and positive beliefs can ensure children with ADHD in a parochial school system can have a positive outlook at school, at home, and in society.

Subject Area

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Church schools, Parents--Attitude toward attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Teachers--Attitude toward attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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