Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

First Advisor's Name

David Cohen

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Miriam Potocky

Third Advisor's Name

Gladwin Hugh

Fourth Advisor's Name

Paul Stuart

Date of Defense



ADHD, which refers to one of the most common behavioral problems among children, is subject to controversial arguments surrounding its nature and its primary treatment with psychiatric medications. At the heart of the problem are parents, whose responsibility includes providing pivotal information to clinicians for the diagnosis and deciding whether their children will receive medications. This study investigates the relationship between working parents’ willingness to medicate ADHD-like behaviors and the time they are able to spend with their children during a regular workday. The importance of time spent with children derives from the observation that it is likely to influence not only parents’ judgments of their children’s behaviors but the behaviors themselves. The relationship was investigated using a subsample of 551 working parents (452 parents reporting no child with problems and 99 parents reporting child with problems) drawn from a population-based telephone survey of parents in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties of Florida. A series of path analyses, controlling for selected socio-demographic and family variables, showed that spending more time with their children during a regular workday was significantly related to being less willing to medicate ADHD-like behaviors. The association was stronger for parents reporting having a child with emotional and behavioral problems (b = –.20) and faint for other parents (b = –.06). The interpretation of the study findings emphasizes the vagueness surrounding the nature of ADHD and the events and procedures leading to the diagnosing of a child, as well as the delicate situations in which parents find themselves.





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