Parental attributions of the causes of their children's behavior

Cary E. Jenson, Robert G. Green, Nirbhay N. Singh, Al M. Best, Cynthia R. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated causal attributions parents made regarding their children's best and worst behavior while the children were taking methylphenidate (MPH) for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Twenty-six parents were surveyed each week for she weeks using the Parent Attribution Scale-Revised. This scale measures parents' attributions of the causes for their children's behavior when taking MPH to treat symptoms of ADHD. When attributing causes for best behavior, the parents rated their children's effort most often followed by their own effort and the positive medication effects. When attributing causes for worst behavior, the parents rated their children's lack of effort most often followed by inadequate medication effects and their own lack of effort. Our study suggests that parents rate effort most often when making attributions for their children's best and worst behavior. When making attributions for best behavior only, parents saw no difference between their own efforts and the effects of medication. When making attributions for worst behavior only, parents were more likely to blame their children's lack of effort and the ineffectiveness of medication more often than their own lack of effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Causal attributions
  • Methylphenidate
  • Parent Attribution Scale-Revised
  • Parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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