Coping with ADHD: Experiences of Pregnant Women Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Sparrow, Jessica
    • Affiliation: School of Nursing
  • First-line treatment in the management of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is stimulant medication; however, there is insufficient data regarding the safe use of stimulants during pregnancy. Women with ADHD who become pregnant and were managed pre-pregnancy with stimulants are generally advised to discontinue this medication. There is limited description in the literature of how ADHD manifests during pregnancy, resulting in limited guidance to providers for symptom management and best practices in their care of pregnant women with ADHD. The aim of this project is to identify influences on the process of coping and health-care decision making for women with ADHD during their pregnancy. A mixed-methods approach is used, providing qualitative data from two extensive interviews and qualitative data from 33 respondents to a Qualtrics™ online survey. The findings were analyzed separately and then compared for contrasts and similarities. Quantitative and qualitative sources support the importance of multi-contextual factors as facilitators for or barriers to health-care decision-making and the coping process. Both interviewees and survey respondents identified challenges they experienced while coping with ADHD symptoms during pregnancy. Interestingly, the way in which women assessed their ability to cope was not through their strengths, but in what they identified as a weakness. A major factor in the emotional and cognitive processes necessary for health-care decision-making is the woman's knowledge of health-care choices. The experiences reported by these women indicate the importance the health-care provider as the central access point for information about management and care of ADHD during pregnancy. This data suggests there are additional areas in which provider knowledge can be helpful in primary support systems and recognition of the influence of contextual factors on the process of coping. Both quantitative and qualitative data acknowledge immediate family members and significant others or spouses as key individuals on whom the pregnant women rely for support. The information gained from this study may be used in the development of a group-therapy curriculum focused on the themes identified in the data and in the evidenced-based literature.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Meltzer-Brody, Samantha
  • Hubbard, Grace
  • Alden, Kathryn
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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