ADHD Research Critique
The study titled “Illicit use of Prescription ADHD Medications on College campuses, by DeSantis, Webb, & Noar, (2008) from the Journal of American College Health,” is both quantitative and qualitative in design, because the authors used mass surveys to gather statistics and in-depth interviews to collect personal information. The researchers used a multimethodological approach in order to gain the data that was needed to form the conclusion and other studies were referenced in order to add to the findings of this study. From the very beginning of the research, the authors were very detailed with background information about the ADHD prescription phenomenon reporting that the rise in the number of diagnoses and subsequent treatment of American children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been well documented since the mid-1990s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.4 million children aged 4 to 17 years (a national prevalence rate of 7.8%) have been diagnosed with ADHD. Of these, doctors have prescribed stimulants to 2.5 million to treat the disorder. The research problem is the rise in illegal use of ADHD medications specifically on college campuses. Building off the rise in the number of children being diagnosed for ADHD and the number of prescriptions being written for the stimulant drugs. Specifically, Adderall, but also Ritalin and Dexedrine, leads one to believe that the study of these prescriptions on college campuses is relevant and justified. Strengths and Limitations There were a number of limitations in the study that should be taken into account when interpreting the results. As the researchers discussed throughout this paper, the quantitative sample was a convenience sample that exhibited many characteristics of the campus as a whole; however, given that it was a convenience sample, there was no guarantee that it represented the population from which it was drawn. Using a convenience sample made the research less complicated but was a limitation. In addition, the sample appeared to include more Greek students than the campus population as a whole. Moreover, all data came from one large public university in the southeast region of the United States, and researchers have found that stimulant use varies according to factors such as region of the country and school competitiveness. Therefore, the rates of stimulant use that was found may be different from those at other universities, and the reasons for use and issues related to access of stimulants may differ. The researchers could have used random samples and included more than one university to get a more “across the board” finding. The strength to the study was the qualitative aspect that linked the emotions and feelings behind all the data. Even so, the interpretation was consistent with the results. Ethical Aspects Ethical principals are necessary in research to make sure that everyone and everything are treated fairly and not harmed. Now of course there is always some risk of harm even if it is only slight with just about any thing, but that is what an informed consent is intended for. Consent was used in this study and the participants were not left in the dark about what the study was about, there was no deception. Unfortunately, unethical practices are of major concern and were detailed by Smith and Davis in “The Psychologist as a Detective.” Four instances where this was a huge problem were: World War II where men were used and not informed, Tuskegee syphilis report where deception was deadly, Willowbrook hepatitis project that put parents in forced situations and the Stanley Milgram’s obedience studies displaying emotional upset and discomfort. Using these as examples the field learned from each of the situations what to do and what not to do and many...
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