Category: ADHD - Child
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity which results in significant impairment at home, school, or with peers. For children with ADHD, their impairment is sometimes further exacerbated by the co-occurrence of comorbid conduct problems which leads to greater impairment. Due to the severe impairment that it causes in children affected by the disorder, parents of children with ADHD experience higher levels of parenting stress (Johnston & Mash, 2001), leading them to seek out ways to help them effectively reduce distress and cope with the problems related to childhood ADHD. For African American families, help seeking behaviors may not consist of traditional supports (i.e., medical or mental health professional), but rather may rely on support from their religious community (McRae, Carey, & Anderson-Scott, 1998). Thus, the primary aim of this study was to examine the role of pastoral support as a potential moderator of the relationship between comorbid conduct problems and ADHD symptom severity for parents of children with ADHD.
Participants in this study included 67 African American caregivers (Mage = 35.00, SDage = 10.41, F = 92.5%) of children with ADHD recruited from a pediatric primary care practice in the southeastern United States. Caregivers in the study completed a demographic questionnaire, the Impairment Rating Scale (IRS; Fabiano et al., 2006), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991), and a questionnaire asking whom they spoke to regarding their child’s ADHD.
Caregiver’s endorsement of speaking with a pastor/priest was examined as a moderator of the relation between externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression and Oppositional Defiant problems), and overall child impairment, while controlling for SES. Results indicated that speaking with a pastor/priest moderated the relationship between aggression and child impairment (b = -.092, SE = .028, p < .01), and Oppositional Defiant problems (b = -.119, SE = .046, p < .05), while controlling for socioeconomic status, for parents of children in this sample. Thus the relationship between child externalizing behaviors and child impairment was moderated by whether African American caregivers spoke to a pastor/priest. Specifically, caregivers who did not seek solutions from a pastor/priest reported greater overall severity in their children.
This study suggests that African American parents of children with ADHD may benefit from seeking council from their religious leaders. These findings suggest the importance of the role of pastoral support and faith-based communities as trusted allies in providing unconventional care and support for caregivers and youth impairment.
Alfonso Floyd– Doctoral Student, Virginia Commonwealth University
Amanda Parks– Doctoral Student, Virginia Commonwealth University
Stephanie Wilson– Doctoral Student, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Heather Jones– Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University