The role of professional discipline in the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Given findings regarding the possible effect of parent and teacher bias on accuracy of prevalence rates for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this study examined whether differences among professional disciplines that diagnose and treat the disorder may constitute a professional bias. A sample of 246 social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists completed the Clinicians' Children's ADHD Assessment Survey, an instrument designed for the study. The three disciplines were compared on measures of Differential Diagnosis, Comorbid Diagnosis, Assessment, Treatment Practices, and Clinical Views on ADHD, utilizing a multivariate analysis of variance. Significant differences were found among the three disciplines on all the outcome variables. However, when group differences were adjusted for years in practice, frequency of opportunity to assess ADHD, number of settings in which clinicians trained/worked, and clinical orientation, professional discipline differentiated social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists on only Assessment and Treatment Practices for ADHD. Frequency of opportunity to assess ADHD differentiated the groups on all the variables except for Treatment Practices, while the number of settings in which clinicians trained/worked also contributed to group differences for Differential Diagnosis. The findings suggest that differences in approach to assessment and treatment of ADHD among mental health clinicians are partly determined by professional role definitions (i.e., prescription privilege and psychological testing) while shared clinical experience in the field may blur those differences conferred by training in a given discipline. The results also suggest professional bias per se may not be a contributing factor in the purported overidentification of ADHD in children.
Spero, Debra Ayn, "The role of professional discipline in the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3084894.