Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Negotiating Parental Accountability in the Face of Uncertainty for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Gray Brunton, Carol; McVittie, Chris; Ellison, Marion; Willock, Joyce


Chris McVittie

Marion Ellison

Joyce Willock


Despite extensive research into attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), parents’ constructions of their
children’s behaviors have received limited attention. This is particularly true outside North American contexts, where
ADHD is less established historically. Our research demonstrates how United Kingdom parents made sense of ADHD
and their own identities postdiagnosis. Using discourse analysis from interviews with 12 parents, we show that they
drew from biological and social environmental repertoires when talking about their child’s condition, paralleling
repertoires found circulating in the United Kingdom media. However, in the context of parental narratives, both these
repertoires were difficult for parents to support and involved problematic subject positions for parental accountability
in the child’s behavior. In this article we focus on the strategies parents used to negotiate these troublesome identities
and construct accounts of moral and legitimate parenting in a context in which uncertainties surrounding ADHD existed and parenting was scrutinzed.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 4, 2014
Publication Date 2014-02
Deposit Date Jun 3, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2016
Print ISSN 1049-7323
Electronic ISSN 1552-7557
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 242-253
Keywords attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); discourse analysis; medicalization; parenting; uncertainty;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Sep 21, 2016