New Nationwide Survey Examines Ethnic Attitudes, Perceptions, and Experiences with ADHD


Fort Washington, PA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–January 29, 2003–Worry that their child will be “labeled”, not having enough information about the disorder, or knowing where to go for help are major barriers that may prevent many parents or caregivers in the African American and Hispanic communities from seeking proper evaluation and treatment for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a new survey of American parents/caregivers of school-aged children.

More than half (53%) of the respondents believe concern that their child will be “labeled” prevents parents from seeking appropriate treatment “a great deal”. More than one in three African Americans (36%), compared to 19 percent of Hispanics and 13 percent of Other respondents, think that “parents’ concern that treatment is based on their child’s racial or ethnic background” prevents children with ADHD from getting proper treatment “a great deal”, although fewer overall respondents believe that it is a barrier.

More than 3,300 adults of varying ethnic backgrounds expressed their attitudes toward, perceptions of, and experiences with ADHD in the nationwide Cultural Attitudes & Perceptions About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive® for McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals.

“While the survey demonstrates a great deal of similarities and common beliefs about ADHD among people of different ethnic backgrounds, it also reveals a number of barriers that may be keeping children who suffer from ADHD from receiving proper diagnosis and treatment,” said Christopher Griffith, M.D., Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, private practice, Stockbridge, GA and Clinical Assistant Professor, Emory School of Medicine.

Barriers to Diagnosis and Treatment

African Americans were more likely than all other survey participants to believe that African American and Hispanic children are more apt to be misdiagnosed with ADHD, told they have ADHD, and be notified by a teacher that a child with learning or behavioral problems has ADHD if the child is African American or Hispanic than if the child is of some other ethnic group. At the same time, African American and Hispanic respondents were more likely than Other respondents to “strongly disagree” that ADHD is a condition that primarily affects “Anglo” or “Caucasian” children.

Respondents also cited not having enough information on ADHD or knowing where to go for help as major barriers to treatment. African Americans (38%) and Hispanics (42%) were less likely than Other (47%) respondents to report ever having received information about ADHD. While three out of four respondents said they would know where to go for help if their child was diagnosed with ADHD, African Americans (64%) and Hispanics (69%) were less likely than Other (79%) respondents to report knowing where to go for assistance.

Hispanics (53%) and African Americans (52%) cited cost as a barrier to treatment more often than Other (47%) respondents. African Americans (44%) were more apt than Hispanic (39%) and Other (38%) respondents to say that access to health care professionals who are knowledgeable about ADHD may prevent many parents from seeking treatment for their child. About one in three Hispanics (32%), one in four African Americans (28%), and nearly one in four Other (23%) respondents also believe that language barriers between parent/child and doctor/health care professional prevent children from getting appropriate treatment.

“In certain communities, a mental health disorder is considered something that must be kept hidden and, as a result, parents are usually reluctant to talk about it,” noted Eric Tridas, M.D., F.A.A.P., Medical Director of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Tampa Children’s Hospital. “They often deny the existence of the problem or believe it is simply a phase that the child will eventually outgrow. Left unmanaged, children with ADHD often suffer academically and can experience behavioral and emotional problems throughout adolescence and into adulthood.”

Awareness and Perception of Treating ADHD

The vast majority of respondents (80%) say that they are aware of treatments that help improve the symptoms of ADHD. However, African Americans are much less likely (66%) and Hispanics somewhat less likely (74%) than Other respondents (84%) to be aware of such treatments.

Among respondents with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, 58 percent report that the child is receiving treatment for the disorder. Of that group, nearly six in 10 (58%) say their child is receiving a combination of prescription medicine and behavioral therapy, and one in three (33%) say their child is being treated with prescription medicine only. Nearly one in 10 (8%) say their child is being treated with counseling or behavioral therapy alone.

Almost all parents/caregivers who have a child that takes prescription medicine for ADHD (96%) say that the medication has helped improve the child’s ADHD-related symptoms at least “somewhat”, while 61 percent say that the medication has helped improve the child’s symptoms “very much”. Additional key survey findings can be found on

About the Survey

The Cultural Attitudes & Perceptions About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder survey was conducted online and by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive from May-July 2002 for McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, marketers of CONCERTA® (methylphenidate HCl) CII. CONCERTA is a prescription medication for the treatment of ADHD. Important safety information and full U.S. Prescribing Information are available at

The research examined attitudes toward, perceptions of, and experiences with ADHD from individuals who classified themselves as Hispanic, African American or “Other” based on responses to questions about race and ethnicity. The survey was designed so that each race/ethnic group represents approximately one-third of the total completes. Ninety-five percent of Other respondents identified themselves as white.

The survey was designed to comply with the code and standards of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations and the Code of the National Council of Public Polls. The category names – Hispanic, African American and Other – are not intended to imply or conform to any biological, anthropological, geographic or genetic criteria. They are based entirely upon how survey respondents have chosen to identify themselves.

About ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a real, common and treatable medical condition characterized by a variable attention span and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. The symptoms of ADHD impact a child in all aspects of his or her life, including academics, socialization, relationships with peers and family, and ability to participate in activities outside of school. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 7.5% of school-age children in the U.S. have ADHD.

About Harris Interactive®

Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll®, and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe ( and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market-and opinion-research firms, and various U.S. offices.



McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals

Gary Esterow; (215) 273-8654



Kathryn Mayurnik; (212) 453-2409


Harris Interactive

Nancy Wong; (585) 214-7316