Academic journal article Child Welfare

Social Support among Parents of Children with ADHD in Vietnam: Psychometric Properties of the Family Support Scale

Academic journal article Child Welfare

Social Support among Parents of Children with ADHD in Vietnam: Psychometric Properties of the Family Support Scale

Article excerpt

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), characterized by symptoms of inattention, overactivity, and impulse control, is one of the most frequently diagnosed disorders in school-age children around the world (Barkley, 2006). Out of 100 school-age children, it is estimated that five to eight present symptoms of ADHD (Barkley, 2006, 2013; DuPaul & Stoner, 2004; Weiss & Hechtman, 1993). Classified as an externalization disorder, ADHD does not only impact the child's quality of life but also affects other family members. Parents whose children have been diagnosed with ADHD experience high levels of psychological distress, marital problems, and significantly high levels of parenting stress (Baker & McCal, 1995; Danforth, Anderson, Barkley, & Stokes, 1991; Harrison & Sofronoff, 2002; Mash & Johnston, 1983; Morgan, Robinson, & Aldridge, 2002). These parents are also more likely to drop out of psychological treatment programs (Friars & Mellor, 2007; Kazdin & Mazurick, 1994), be discriminated against by their surrounding community, and receive little support from professionals and family (Ho, Chien, & Wang, 2011; Lin, Huang, & Hung, 2009; Oh & Kendall, 2009). What is more, parents frequently find themselves in conflict with other family members while trying to establish appropriate disciplinary measures for their children (Oh & Kendall, 2009).

Social support has been well known as a protective factor for caregivers' physical and psychological health. It reduces stress and helps to mitigate the effects of stress in caregivers for different populations such as young children, children with disabilities, or children with chronic conditions like autism or ADHD (Al-Gamal & Long, 2013; DeaterDeckard, 2004; Koeske & Koeske, 1990). Studies of social support among populations coping with ADHD have revealed that the size and closeness of families to their support network are significantly associated with caregiver stress. The closer the family is to their relatives, friends, or professional providers, the lower stress they report (Cunningham, Benness, & Siegel, 1988; Lovell, Moss, & Wetherell, 2012; Neff, 2010). When entering a regression model, social support, along with parent ADHD symptomatology, consistently emerges as a significant predictor for parental stress (Lovell et al., 2012; Theule, Wiener, Rogers, & Marton, 2011). The more social support parents perceive, and the fewer symptoms of ADHD their child presents, the less stress the family experiences (Theule et al., 2011). However, the reverse effect might also occur in some studies: reaching out to more support systems can lead to increased stress. Podolski and Nigg (2001), while investigating the relationship between parenting distress and child disruptive behaviors, found that the more parents in their cohort reached out for community support, the more stress they perceived. This negative effect was also mentioned earlier by Koeske and Koeske (1990). In chronic situations, such as having a child with a disability or mental impairment, social support might not be a protective factor; rather, it could be seen as a sign of incompetency that leads to greater stress.

ADHD is relatively new research topic in Asia in general and Vietnam in particular. Most ADHD studies in both Asia and Vietnam particularly focus on the child's behavior and outcomes, while less is understood about ADHD's social impact on families. Existing research, however, is in consensus with that from Western countries, suggesting that one of the most challenging issues for parents of children with ADHD is setting up and maintaining a surrounding support network. Asian mothers have indicated that they receive little help from their families and friends due to their child's disruptive behaviors (Ho et al., 2011; Lin et al., 2009; Oh & Kendall, 2009). Further, studies in Vietnam suggest that the cultural stigma attached to mental health issues can be attributed to the negative behaviors of the family's ancestors (van der Ham, Wright, Van, Doan, & Broerse, 2011), which can also serve as a barrier to reaching out for help (Park, Glidden, & Shin, 2010; van der Ham et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.