Objective: This study aimed to understand the level of public knowledge about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), treatment preferences for the disorder, and their sociodemographic correlates. Methods: A short battery of questions about ADHD was included in the 2002 General Social Survey (N= 1, 139). In face-to-face interviews, respondents answered questions about whether they had heard of ADHD, what they knew about ADHD, their beliefs about whether ADHD is a "real" disease, and opinions about whether children with ADHD should be offered counseling or medication. Results: Just under two-thirds of respondents (64%) had heard of ADHD; most could not provide detailed information about the disorder. Women and those with higher levels of education were more likely to have heard of ADHD; African Americans, members of other nonwhite racial and ethnic groups, and older respondents were less likely to have heard of ADHD. Among respondents who had heard of ADHD, 78% said they believed ADHD to be a real disease; women, white respondents, and persons with higher income most often endorsed that belief. Most respondents (65%) endorsed the use of both counseling and medication, although counseling was endorsed as a sole treatment more often than medication. There were few sociodemographic differences in treatment preferences. Conclusions: The public is not well informed about ADHD. Future media and educational efforts should seek to provide accurate information about ADHD, with a special effort to reach specific populations such as men, nonwhite minority groups, and older Americans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health