Factors contributing to stress in parents of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The purpose of this study was to investigate which factors contributed to stress in parents of children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The influence of the parents' gender on these stress factors as well as the way in which parents conceptualised extreme stress/burnout were also explored. This study focused on parents whose children have been diagnosed with this disorder and attend the grade two classes at this special school. Thirty seven parents completed a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 of these parents. The researcher was able to determine which specific factors contributed to these parents' stress relating to parenting their ADHD child and also explored parents' conceptions of stress. The data was quantitatively and qualitatively analysed. The semistructured interviews explored the parents' subjective stress experiences with their ADHD children and encouraged possible solutions from parents. Gender differences were also explored. The responses to the interviews were qualitatively analysed. The results of this study have indicated that generally, parents perceive extreme stress/burnout in terms of physical and emotional symptoms. The factors contributing to extreme stress appeared to be associated with social problems of ADHD children, their inappropriate behaviours and school-related problems. Many possible solutions were offered by parents but they also indicated the need for support and understanding from significant others, such as spouses, teachers, family members, doctors and therapists. Parents of ADHD children in this study indicated that one's gender does play an important role regarding how a person copes with stress, with mothers generally experiencing far more stress than fathers.