BACKGROUND : ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is gradually being
acknowledged as a functionally impairing disorder across the lifespan, underscored by
heritability. Nonetheless, lack of ADHD (adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) data
from South Africa is alarming which could be due to either the unawareness of ADHD
symptoms or underutilisation of available screening measures. Undiagnosed ADHD may
influence family- and working lives unpleasantly. Parenting a child with ADHD may intensify
parental stress through functional impairment notwithstanding the diagnosis of ADHD.
METHODS : Eighty-one biological parents of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/
hyperactivity disorder were screened using self-reporting measurements. ADHD self-report
scale (ASRS-V 1.1) identified either positive or negative subgroups; the Weiss functional
impairment rating scale (WFIR-S) for functional impairment and the Jerome driving
questionnaire (JDQ) for risk-taking behaviour specifically driving.
RESULTS : Of the 39 (48%) parents who experienced impairment in all seven areas of
functioning, 23 (59%) screened negative for ADHD, while 16 (41%) screened positive.
A significant association was found between parents who screened either positive or negative
for ADHD and functional impairment across five of the seven individual categories namely
family, work, self-concept, life-skills and social functioning.
CONCLUSION : This study emphasised the high incidence of functional impairment in parents of
ADHD children. Although a substantial number of parents screened negative for ADHD, they
still reported impairment in functioning; probably due to undiagnosed ADHD with comorbid
psychiatric disorders, and/or parental stress due to the complex behaviour of the child. Parents
of children diagnosed with ADHD should be screened for functional impairment followed by
referral for psychiatric assessment and parent management training to achieve better clinical