Self-perceived and actual knowledge of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity/Disorder: A comparison between graduate students in medicine,mental health, and education
Hofer, Stephanie B.
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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common and increasingly diagnosed disorder among school-age children. Medical professionals, mental health professionals and educators can play an integral role in the identification, assessment and treatment process; therefore, it is helpful to know how much knowledge of ADHD graduate students in these fields possess. The present study assessed self-perceived and actual knowledge of ADHD between graduate students in medicine, mental health, and education. Participants were graduate students in medicine, mental health, and education from the Houston/Galveston area. Participants completed an online survey measuring self-perceived and actual knowledge of ADHD. A bivariate correlation was conducted to determine the relationship between self-perceived and actual knowledge. A Multivariate Analysis of Variance(MANOVA) was used to compare between group differences in self-perceived and actual knowledge. The covariate was years of graduate/professional training. Descriptive statistics were used to assess levels of ADHD training and to identify current and preferred sources of ADHD training. Results from the study showed a significant positive correlation between self-perceived and actual knowledge. Results from the MANOVA showed graduate fields of study were significantly associated with both dependent variables. Further analysis indicated a significant difference in both self-perceived and actual knowledge between graduate students in mental health and in medicine, with the mental health sample having higher levels of knowledge. The sample of graduate students in education did not show any significant differences compared to the other two fields. Graduate students in mental health had the highest levels of self-perceived and actual knowledge, followed by the education sample and then medicine. Graduate students in the three fields generally reported below average to average levels of training regarding ADHD from their graduate programs. Regarding where graduate students prefer to receive ADHD training, all graduate students reported that they prefer to receive more ADHD training from multiple sources including classes, articles, and workshops. Future research may want to further assess the level of training regarding ADHD provided by graduate programs and determine what should be considered an adequate level of knowledge for future practitioners. In addition, outcomes of this study may also support future research on a collaborative consultation model.