Clinical Pediatrics, Volume 59, Issue 3, Page 285-296, March 2020.
This study explored factors influencing parents’ and adolescents’ decisions to initiate, continue, and discontinue medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Three focus groups were conducted with parents (n = 23) of children with ADHD, and 2 with adolescents diagnosed with ADHD (n = 11). Parents and adolescents independently discussed the complexities surrounding their decisions to adhere to ADHD medication. Parents’ negative beliefs about medication (fear of side effects) discouraged them from initiating therapy. Once initiated, parents struggled in balancing the need to medicate (improvements in learning and behavior) and concerns (weight loss, perceived delayed development) about the medication. Parents who had more concerns about the medication were more in favor of discontinuation. For adolescents, the desire for self-expression without being medicated was the primary factor determining nonadherence and/or discontinuation of the medication. Adolescents’ medication-related concerns were relatively different from the parents. Phase- and group-specific interventions are required to improve medication adherence in people with ADHD.