The Risk Society and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Critical Social Research Analysis Concerning the Development and Social Impact of the ADHD Diagnosis

Kean, Brian
July 2005
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;Summer2005, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p131
Academic Journal
This article reports the findings of a research study that used a critical social research methodology to review the increase in use of the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conceptualized the phenomenon within a theoretical framework based upon Beck's ( 1992, 1999) periodizatization social change, the Risk Society. The study was qualitative in nature. Data were drawn from a wide range of sources including legitimating hearings, reports and studies, texts and seminal documents, held observation in schools and classrooms, an electronic discussion/bulletin board, and in-depth interviews with parents and teachers. The analysis used a critical framework to locate specific instances of claim and counter-claim and to set the historical context for understanding the "modern biological" method of intervention with children considered by parents and teachers as having ADHD. The findings of the study are structured in the context of risks. Further research will inform whether the risks become threats. Through exposure of silences, myths, contradictions and power relationships that create risks surrounding the ADHD phenomenon, it is hoped that discourse concerning the hegemonic medical model of ADHD in research and in the wider community will be further critically examined.


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