Academic journal article Michigan Journal of Counseling

The Impact of Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms on Maternal Parenting Behaviors

Academic journal article Michigan Journal of Counseling

The Impact of Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms on Maternal Parenting Behaviors

Article excerpt

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that was once believed to only affect children. It was commonly believed that with further brain development and as hormonal or developmental changes occurred, most children would outgrow the condition during adolescence. However, during the last decade, research on the condition has established credibility and acceptance of the disorder in adults, and it is now recognized as a life long disorder (Elliott, 2002; Faraone & Antshel, 2008; Young, 2002). A 2003 survey by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) indicates that approximately eight million adults suffer from the disorder, with the majority of the patients being undiagnosed.

The keystone features of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). While these are not the only symptoms of ADHD, they are the ones that are utilized as specifiers in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (APA, 2013). The symptoms of ADHD can result in impairment in several areas of the individual's life, including difficulty in organization, time management, task completion, and concentration. In addition, the individual may also suffer from low self-esteem, mood swings, increased frustration, academic or vocational failure, or lack of ambition (Waite, 2007). Individuals with ADHD are more at risk of developing secondary depression, anxiety, social phobias, eating disorders, substance abuse, and have increased health care utilization (Goodman, 2007; Taylor & Keltner, 2002). Because these symptoms have been misunderstood in the past, individuals who suffer from ADHD may have been considered to be lazy or unmotivated, have low intelligence, or simply be a delinquent.

Over the past two decades, tremendous strides have been made in understanding ADHD, improving treatment options, and recognizing the presence of adult symptomology. Researchers have identified the prevalence of ADHD in the adult population to be roughly 3%, despite gender (Faraone & Biederman, 2005). However, the results from the previously referenced ADDA survey (2003) estimates that only about 25% of adults with ADHD are actually receiving treatment. Research findings (Faraone & Biederman, 2005; Minde et al., 2003; Murphy & Barkley, 1996; Murphy, Barkley, & Bush, 2002) indicate that adults with ADHD have more academic concerns, family problems, marital breakups, a more unstable work record, more car accidents, and more interpersonal problems than non-ADHD adults. Adults with ADHD often have difficulty managing their own lives; yet, often do not discuss their difficulties (Elliott, 2002; McMillen, 2002; Waite, 2007; Young, 2002). So, what happens when the responsibility of parenting requires the management of others?

Inherent in the responsibilities of parenting is the ability to be attentive to the needs of a child. In addition, parenting calls for organization and structuring the life of a child (Weiss, Hechtman & Weiss, 2000). The responsibility of parenting can be stressful for individuals without ADHD (Nadeau, 2004). The inability to effectively attend to parental obligations impacts child development negatively (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000; Cunningham, 2007; Dwivedi & Banhatti, 2005; Leverton, 2003). When combined with the psychopathology of ADHD, parenting behaviors can become dysfunctional. The presence of parental ADHD is a predictor for higher levels of family conflict and lesser levels of family cohesion (Biederman, Faraone, & Monteaux, 2002). This same study suggests that non-ADHD children can suffer from ADHD-related dysfunction as a result of exposure to the ADHD parent, including a negative impact on school performance. ADHD symptoms can result in a more chaotic family environment and have a detrimental effect on children (Biederman, et al). …

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