Social Science & Medicine, September 2011, Vol.73(6), pp.889-896
This article investigates the social and moral dimensions of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, asking what ADHD means in UK children’s everyday lives, and what children do with this diagnosis. Drawing on interviews with over 150 children, the analysis examines the influence of a UK state school-based culture of aggression on the form and intensity of diagnosed children’s difficulties with behavioral self-control. Diagnosed children’s mobilization of ADHD behaviors and their exploitation of the diagnosis shows how children’s active moral agency can support and compromise cognitive, behavioral and social resilience. The findings support a proposal for a complex sociological model of ADHD diagnosis and demonstrate the relevance of this model for national policy initiatives related to mental health and wellbeing in children. ► In the UK, ADHD is understood to be a disorder of anger and aggression. ► A UK state school-based culture of aggression intensifies children’s difficulty controlling their behavior. ► Children use ADHD diagnosis and symptomatic behaviors to social and moral ends. ► Children rely on friendships to help manage their difficulty with self-control. ► Mental health policy should address the social and moral, as well as the cognitive aspects of ADHD diagnosis.
United Kingdom ; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ; ADHD ; Diagnosis ; Stigma ; Aggression ; Bullying ; Mental Capital ; Children ; Medicine ; Social Sciences (General) ; Public Health
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