All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jeffrey M Clair

Advisory Committee Members

Patricia Drentea

Joseph Wolfe

Sylvie Mrug

Mark Bateman

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The number of children diagnosed with and medicated for ADHD has increased within the last decades. In this study, I assert that ADHD is a serious mental health issue with a biological etiology which in many cases is alleviated by the use of medication. However, I also argue that powerful socio-cultural forces are important to understanding ADHD and medication use in the American Educational system. Physicians and psychiatrists are responsible for assigning medication as a treatment for ADHD. Nevertheless, teachers are at the front lines of the ADHD issue and handle it on a daily basis. Despite this fact, very little qualitative research has investigated ADHD medication use in contemporary American society and the role teachers may play in the process. In order to address this gap in the literature, semi-structured interviews using grounded theory were utilized. After a grounded and thorough analysis of the data, I suggest the "ADHD Medication Process Model" which explains teachers' pedagogical perspectives, their conception of the ideal student, labeling processes, and teacher attitudes towards medication use for ADHD. I argue that within the constraints of the American Educational System, pedagogical perspectives affect teachers' conception of the ideal student which may lead to an ADHD label. Once an ADHD label is attached, teachers utilize subtle strategies which influence parents' attitudes of medication use. Further, I integrate previous research on the topics above and discuss implications for ADHD medication use within the context of the American Educational system. Lastly, I highlight ethical considerations involving children, teachers, parents and medication use for ADHD.

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