Knowledge of attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a comparison of pre-service teachers in primary and special education in Germany
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Submission date: 2015-07-11
Acceptance date: 2015-09-04
Online publication date: 2015-09-21
Publication date: 2015-09-14
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(3):237-245
Given that the majority of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) attend regular classroom settings in Germany, it is necessary for teachers to be well prepared to provide these children appropriate care and education on the basis of accurate knowledge of ADHD. Pre-service teachers should have enough learning possibilities in their curriculum about ADHD. The purpose of this study was to investigate German pre-service teachers’ knowledge of ADHD by differentiating between their future school type, their study progress, their learning experiences, gender, and age.

Participants and procedure
The participants were 234 pre-service teachers of the University of Leipzig, Germany. The survey instrument constructed by Lee (2015) was slightly modified for pre-service teachers, and consists of the three subscales: (a) characteristics of ADHD, (b) causes of ADHD, and (c) subtypes of ADHD.

Total accuracy of the knowledge of German pre-service teachers was 51.60%, inaccuracy was 21.60%, and no information was 25.80%. German pre-service teachers who majored in special education have a significantly higher accuracy rate than those who majored in primary education. The knowledge profiles consisting of total knowledge score and three domain-specific subscores can be explained significantly (ANOVAs) by the main effects and the interactions among the independent factors (a) future school type, (b) study progress, (c) experience by curriculum, and (d) personal experience. It was possible to discriminate significantly four pre-service teacher groups (differentiated by future school type and study progress) on the basis of their knowledge profiles by a discriminant analysis.

Teachers are an important target group for ADHD research because they play a major role in early diagnosis of ADHD as well as supporting their development. During their education, pre-service teachers need to be prepared for dealing appropriately with ADHD children in the classroom. This study provides a basic investigation of German pre-service teachers’ needs of learning how to deal with ADHD children.
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