The role of treatment acceptability in the initiation of treatment for ADHD

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ADHD; treatment acceptability; pharmacological treatment; behavior therapy


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Approximately 50 percent of families of children with ADHD fail to pursue, or adhere to, recommended treatments. The present study examines parent ratings of the acceptability of pharmacological and behavioral treatments for ADHD and the relationships between these ratings and subsequent pursuit of treatment. Fifty-five families whose children received an evaluation for ADHD completed questionnaires and were contacted 3 to 4 months later to assess their pursuit of treatment. Consistent with previous research, parents rated behavior therapy as more acceptable than medication. Parent ratings of medication acceptability significantly predict pursuit of pharmacological treatment, whereas ratings of the acceptability of behavior therapy do not predict pursuit of this treatment. Preliminary analyses found that Caucasian parents’ ratings of medication are significantly higher than those of non-Caucasian parents. Furthermore, Caucasian families were more likely to pursue a recommendation for pharmacological treatment than non-Caucasian families. The clinical and research implications of these results are considered.

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