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The experiences of children and adolescents living with ADHD were reflected in 6 themes

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Q What are the experiences of children and adolescents living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?


Qualitative study.


Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California, USA.


39 children and adolescents with ADHD (age range 6–17 y; 67% boys; 38% African-American, 33% Hispanic, and 23% Caucasian) were recruited through advertisements and visits to ethnically diverse clinics, schools, and cultural support agencies.


Children participated in indepth, semistructured interviews of 15–45 minutes. Observations of family relational patterns and environments were documented in field notes or as family portraits. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using constant comparative analysis.


6 themes were identified. (1) Problems. Most children reported everyday problems that got them “into trouble.” They identified learning and cognition problems such as their “slower” rate of learning, feeling constantly distracted and confused about what was said to them, and being bored. Participants also identified behaviourproblems in terms …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J Kendall, School of Nursing, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

  • Source of funding: in part, National Institute of Nursing Research.