Stigmatization in teachers towards adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Abstract

Objectives: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is understood as a developmental disorder which shares common characteristics between childhood, adolescence and adulthood. However, ADHD is widely associated with misconceptions and misbeliefs which can lead to stigmatization. Teachers have an important role for the individual development as they accompany students for a long period of time. The aim of the present study was to explore stigmatizing attitudes in teachers towards adults with ADHD, thereby focusing on the developmental trajectory of the condition. Furthermore, it was aimed to identify factors contributing to prevention and intervention of stigmatization in ADHD. Methods: Stigma responses of 170 teachers and 170 comparison participants were measured and compared with a recently developed tool for the assessment of stigmatization towards adults with ADHD. Furthermore, the contribution of knowledge about ADHD and the frequency of contact with adults with ADHD to stigmatization were explored. Results: Teachers showed significantly less stigmatizing attitudes than comparison participants in various dimensions, including Reliability and Social Functioning, Malingering and Misuse of Medication and the total scale. With regard to teachers, frequency of contact with adults with ADHD was not related to stigma. However, knowledge about the disorder was negatively correlated with stigma in teachers, indicating lower expressed stigma with increasing knowledge about adult ADHD. Conclusions: Teachers demonstrated more sensitized attitudes towards stigma in adults with ADHD than comparison participants. Since the present results indicate that knowledge about ADHD increase the sensitivity towards the disorder, special education programs for the community may have the potential to reduce stigmatization towards adults with ADHD. Possibilities for intervention strategies of stigmatization in educational settings were discussed. © 2014 Fuermaier et al.

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Fuermaier, A. B. M., Tucha, L., Mueller, A. K., Koerts, J., Hauser, J., Lange, K. W., & Tucha, O. (2014). Stigmatization in teachers towards adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. SpringerPlus, 3(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/2193-1801-3-26

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