General practitioners' familiarity attitudes and practices with regard to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adults

Louw, Charmaine (2006-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych (Educational Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder affecting 4% to 5% of South African children. Recent studies revealed that 30% to 70% of children continue to experience problems related to ADHD in adulthood. Adults are becoming increasingly more aware of adult ADHD as a result of public awareness campaigns in the media. Their first line of action is to visit their family physician, but the question arises whether these practitioners are ready to take on the patients with ADHD. The aims of this study were to determine the familiarity, attitudes and practices of general practitioners in South Africa with regard ADHD in both children and adults and whether there are differences in children and adults with regard to depression and generalised anxiety disorders as comorbid disorders. The study also briefly explored the training models of general practitioners in South Africa. The research questions are addressed by means of a survey approach, using quantitative measures. An email message with a cover letter, explaining the purpose of the research project, provided a link to a Web-based questionnaire. It was broadcast to 6704 general practitioners on the database of the company MEDpages, who managed the broadcast. A questionnaire attached to an e-mail message was sent to all Departments of Family Health at universities in the country to obtain information with regard to the training models of general practitioners. This was followed up with structured telephone interviews if no response was received. The questionnaire was completed by 229 respondents. The data were statistically analysed using Statistica Version 7.0. The results revealed a significant need among general practitioners to increase their knowledge base with regard to ADHD, more so with regard to adults. Their knowledge and training with regard to depression and generalised anxiety disorders were significantly more extensive with regard to adults as opposed to children. Training with regard to ADHD in adults was almost non-existent. It was recommended that the limited knowledge base of general practitioners with regard to ADHD should be addressed by adapting the curriculum of undergraduate medical students and providing opportunities for continued medical education that focus on the diagnosis and management of ADHD in both children and adults. General practitioners should acknowledge the educational psychologist as an equal partner within a multi-disciplinary team

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