Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this study was to document current and desired lines of communication between school personnel and physicians for the purpose of making medication decisions for students with ADHD. School-physician communication practices-were assessed utilizing a national survey of primary care physicians who are members o f the American Medical Association (AMA) and school psychologists who are members of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Specific information exchange practices that were assessed included: (a) on what student characteristics is information collected (e.g., academic performance, disruptive behavior, social interactions), (b) how school-based information is collected (e.g., direct observations, rating scales), (c) the format in which information is summarized and presented (e.g., graphs, numerical summaries), (d) the mode of communication (e.g., phone call, email, fax), (e) the person who communicates information (e.g., school psychologist, teacher), and (f) the frequency of communication (e.g., 2-3 times per month). Current information exchange practices were documented for three major decision-making periods during medication evaIuations:(a) before medication is initiated, (b) when medication is evaluated, and, (c) when on-going treatment is monitored. Findings indicated that schools and physicians lack frequent and direct contact during medication evaluations. Results of this study extend previous research by pinpointing specific information exchange practices (i.e., mode of communication, who communicates school-based information, and the frequency of communication) that may be impeding direct school-physician contact. This information is needed if we hope to bridge the gap between research and school-based practices in medication assessment. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access