Person-centered Language in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Research

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is frequently found in children. It often goes untreated due to the negative stigma that surrounds the disorder. This stigma is often perpetrated by those in the educational and scientific community. Thus, we conducted a cross-sectional examination to measure the adherence to patient-centered language (PCL) among ADHD-related journal publications. We included a systematic search of PubMed ADHD-related articles (which included MEDLINE) that were published between January 2014 and March 2021. All journals that included at least 20 ADHD-related searches, human research, and were in the English language were included, totaling 5308 articles from 88 journals. These articles were randomized, and the first 500 were selected and screened for inclusion of pre-specified, non-PCL terminology. After exclusion, 311 articles remained. Of these articles, 131 (42.12%) adhered to PCL guidelines. The remaining articles contained stigmatizing language, including phrases such as “problem(s) with [the/a] child or problem child” and “suffers from,” most frequently— occurring in 47.90% (149/311) and 5.79% (18/311) of articles, respectively. There was a significant association between PCL adherence and first author employment (P = 0.04). We found that over half of the current literature on children with ADHD did not adhere to PCL guidelines. PCL is associated with positive health outcomes; therefore, its implementation is recommended by multiple professional groups. It is necessary for the medical and scientific community to adhere to PCL so that stigma surrounding ADHD can be mitigated and support can be readily available.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2022
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022 : Poster Presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 14 Feb 202218 Feb 2022


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • ADHD
  • children
  • Person-centered language
  • stigma
  • cross-sectional examination


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