Fathers raising children with ADHD: an interpretive phenomenology study Public Deposited

Background: Approximately 11% of children in the United States live with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is characterized by the core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Most of these children live in families with fathers; however, the majority of knowledge about the experiences and needs of families comes from mother-focused research. Clinicians and researchers do not yet fully appreciate the experiences of fathers and/or how those experiences could inform clinical practice with families to enhance child and family-related outcomes. The purpose of this research was to describe and interpret the meaning of raising children with ADHD as lived by their fathers. Method: This study employed Benner’s approach to Interpretive Phenomenology, which involved collecting in-depth reflective knowledge through face-to-face interviews from fathers who were actively raising children with ADHD and interpreting these data through the use of paradigm cases. Sample: Ten fathers of 11 children with ADHD (ages 7-20; 10 males, 1 female; six ADHD Combined subtype, four Predominantly Inattentive) were interviewed resulting in approximately 20 hours of interviews. Nineteen interviews were completed; nine fathers completed two interviews each and one father, a single interview. Fathers were located in a metropolitan area of the Pacific Northwest. Results: Fathers’ experienced life through the primary theme of “The Anxiety of Looming Adulthood” in which past experiences with ADHD and their own life experiences, beliefs, and values combined in the present moment and created an ever-present backdrop of anxiety about their children’s’ future abilities to achieve adult independence.

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