Experience of stress in parents of children with ADHD: A qualitative study Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: Qualitative research aimed at understanding the stress of parents of children with ADHD is limited and few interventions have been designed to directly target their stress. The study aim was to explore the stress of parents of children with ADHD using qualitative methodology.Methods: Thirteen parents of children with ADHD participated in two focus groups. Open-ended questions explored parents' experiences of stress. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis. Parents also completed the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form.Results: Four primary themes were identified: The child's behaviour feels like a "wrecking ball"; Coping with the "war at home"; A divided family: "relationships don't survive"; and Craving support: "it's goddamn hard work". Five of eleven participants who completed the PSI-SF scored in the clinically significant range indicating levels of stress that require professional support.Conclusions: Parents attribute their high stress to their children's behaviour, unmet needs for support, and social stigma. Parents request support to enable them to cope and appear to represent a clinical population who require mental health care and support themselves. Future interventions directly targeting the stress of parents of children with ADHD may provide wide-ranging benefits for their children and families.


  • Leitch, Sophie
  • Sciberras, Emma
  • Post, Brittany
  • Gerner, Bibi
  • Rinehart, Nicole
  • Nicholson, Jan M
  • Evans, Subhadra

publication date

  • 2019