The use of medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) differs globally. Stimulant prescriptions for ADHD among Israeli Jewish children are four times higher than among Arab children. This qualitative study aimed to identify mothers and teachers’ attitudes regarding ADHD and what affects mothers’ decisions on whether to medicate their child diagnosed with ADHD. In-depth interviews were conducted with 23 Arab and Jewish mothers of children diagnosed with ADHD and 12 elementary school teachers. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Four themes were revealed, describing different perceptions of ADHD in the two ethnic groups: (1) medicalization of ADHD; (2) between guilt and sympathy: Mothers’ feelings toward ADHD; (3) social pressure and social norms; (4) stigmatization: Jewish mothers and teachers tended to perceive ADHD as a medical problem, whereas Arab mothers and teachers perceived it more as a childhood social behavior. Arab mothers reported guilt feelings relating to ADHD, whereas Jewish mothers felt sympathy toward their child. The social environment influenced Arab mothers more than Jewish mothers. Stigmatization was reported only by Arab mothers. Ethnic differences in ADHD perception may explain the differences in diagnosis and treatment. Educators and school psychologists should consider cultural factors when advising parents and planning educational programs for children with ADHD.
|Journal||School Psychology International|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2023|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Education University of Hong Kong, (grant number Project No. RG 26/2021-2022R).
© The Author(s) 2023.
- Arabs and Jews
- mothers’ decisions
- social environment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health