Institutionalized Intolerance of ADHD: Sources and Consequences

Hypatia 25 (3):504 - 526 (2010)
Diagnosable individuals, caregivers, and clinicians typically embrace a biological conception of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), finding that medical treatment is beneficial. Scientists study ADHD phenomenology, interventions to ease symptoms, and underlying mechanisms, often with an aim of helping diagnosed people. Yet current understanding of ADHD, jointly influenced by science and society, has an unintended downside. Scientific and social influences have embedded negative values in the ADHD concept, and have simultaneously dichotomized ADHD diagnosable from non-diagnosable individuals. In social settings insistent on certain types of success, the negative values associated with the diagnostic category are attributed to people in the dichotomized "ADHD" group. Devaluation, institutional restrictions on "success" definitions and endpoints, and limited options for achieving success jointly constitute institutionalized intolerance of ADHD
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DOI 10.2307/40928635
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