Date of Award

4-1998

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Jerry Markle

Second Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush

Third Advisor

Dr. Vyachelslav Karpov

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADHD) is frequently depicted in the popular culture as a biologically based syndrome which causes substantial numbers of children to become hyperactive. The research questions in this study ask if these concerns are legitimated by generally accepted medical knowledge? The study's theoretical framework combines notions of social constructivism and the sociology of scientific knowledge. My data were editorials published in medical journals since 1974 that had hyperactivity as their subject. I found that hyperactivity did not become a major concern within general medicine until Benjamin Feingold (1974) suggested that it was caused by food additives, and could be treated by a simple diet plan. Secondly, I determined that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a consensus among the various healthcare professions as how to interpret and treat hyperactive behavior.

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