Assessing Pediatricians' Diagnostic Practices: An Analogue Study of Responses to ADHD-Like Presentations in Preschoolers
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Patricia Meinhold
Dr. Malcolm Robertson
Dr. Al Poling
Dr. Mike Bahr
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been considered one of the most chronic behavior disorders observed in the preadolescent population and is one of the most frequently diagnosed childhood disorders in North America. Currently, however, there is little consistency in terms of identifying specific criteria which need to be present in a child's behavior to make a diagnosis of ADHD. This difficulty is even more pronounced in very young children of preschool age. This study utilized a three year old male child shown to 80 subjects on a videotape engaging in either a high or a low level of activity. Subjects were also exposed to either a high or low level of home stress, and a high or low level of parental motivation for treatment. All subjects were given an identical history concerning the child. Once having seen the videotape and having read the background information, all subjects were asked to fill out a 12-item questionnaire which included questions pertaining to demographics, diagnosis, treatment, and psychostimulants. Results indicated that, in general, home stress and parental motivation were important when considering diagnosis. In addition, most subjects were not entirely certain of the diagnosis they had made and wanted more information. As far as treatment was concerned, most subjects chose some form of therapy for either the child, the family, the parents, or a combination of these. Only a few subjects indicated that a change in diet or psychostimulant medication would be the treatment of choice, yet many subjects indicated few concerns about prescribing medications, even to young children. Unfortunately, most subjects believed that it would be very or fairly difficult for the child and family to obtain treatment. One can speculate that although the subjects chose therapy as the more appetitive mode of treatment, they may, when in a clinical setting, choose medication due to the ease with which the family can obtain it and because it is easier to comply with than is therapy.
Augustesen, Helle, "Assessing Pediatricians' Diagnostic Practices: An Analogue Study of Responses to ADHD-Like Presentations in Preschoolers" (1995). Dissertations. 1744.