Boys will be boys: fathers' perspectives on ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, and drug treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Fathers tend to be largely absent from research and clinical settings related to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as from public forums related to ADHD, such as educational conferences and parent support groups. Because of these absences, little is known about fathers' perspectives on ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, and drug treatment. This article presents findings from a qualitative study involving 39 mothers and 22 fathers of boys with ADHD. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants using a picture-based method that elicited detailed narratives. Results of this study suggest that fathers' perspectives on ADHD behaviors, diagnosis, and drug treatment can be categorized along two dimensions: "reluctant believers" and "tolerant nonbelievers." Across these two dimensions, several related factors are relevant to fathers' perspectives: resistance to a medical framework for understanding their sons' behaviors; identification with the sons' symptomatic behaviors; and resistance to drug treatment with stimulants. These factors may help to explain, in turn, fathers' absences from clinical evaluations of their sons' behaviors. The study affirms the importance of fathers' perspectives to the clinical evaluation and treatment of boys' symptomatic behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
JournalHarvard Review of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'Boys will be boys: fathers' perspectives on ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, and drug treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this