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Parental Discussions Online through the Medical Discourse-lens

In the present study the research objective was to gain insights into parental communication on an open Internet forum where parents had the opportunity to discuss issues related to ADHD. In order for clinicians to help troubled children brought to the health clinic it may be important to learn more about the life situations of these troubled families as treatment options can require complex interventions for the whole family. Our aim was thus to go beyond theneurobiological medical model of ADHD, which does not take into account contextual factors. In today’s society specialized online discussion forums are available for parents who seek support for various difficulties that arise in the family. The online forums are sources of research data. As research tools we used the narrative psychological approach for the analysis of 72 online narratives. These narratives provided support for that the parents embraced medical explanations for the difficulties experienced when raising children, despite obvious challenging life circumstances, such as for example being a single parent without social support. Even very young children had been given serious psychiatric medical diagnoses such as ADHD, Bipolar disorder, Mood disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Some of them had been diagnosed with more than one of these disorders. The complexity of the parental narratives in the present study indicates that the neurobiological model is not sufficient enough to form the basis of a personalized and comprehensive care for vulnerable families.


Linda Lundin and Soly Erlandsson

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