Thursday, September 30, 2010

Psychosocial theory of ADHD does not blame parents

Sarah Boseley's report in the Guardian about the Lancet genetic study of ADHD, which concludes in the paper that ADHD is not purely a social construct, quotes Professor Anita Thapar, the senior author of the study, as saying that she hopes "that these findings will help overcome the stigma associated with ADHD". She's confident that ADHD is a genetic condition, which, to her mind, shows she was right that ADHD should not be dismissed as being due to bad parenting or poor diet.

Avoiding blaming the parents is commonly used as an argument for a biomedical view of ADHD and other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. However, it's a misunderstanding of the psychosocial perspective to take this as its implication. Trying to understand why a child becomes hyperactive is several steps away from blaming anyone. There's no suggestion that there's any conscious intention to cause harm and there is no one-to-one causal connection. Understanding reasons is not the same as causal connections.


Peter Jones said...

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found over 40 percent of the best designed, peer-reviewed scientific papers published in the world's top medical journals misrepresented the actual findings of the research.(i) The "spin doctors" writing the papers found a way to show treatments worked, when in fact, they didn't; more.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.