Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, its diagnosis and its treatment have been controversial since the 1970s (Kean, 2012), with opinions differing with respect to the diagnostic process, whether it in fact exists, or if it is an excuse for poor parenting and teaching (Maras, Redmayne, Hall, Braithwaite, & Prior, 1997). There are currently few studies that directly examine demographic characteristics as an indicator of teacher knowledge of ADHD and their attitudes towards ADHD-type behaviours. In this pilot study of teachers in Sydney public schools, we examined teacher knowledge about ADHD, their attitudes towards students who exhibit behaviours associated with ADHD, and the impact of demographic characteristics on their opinions and attitudes. We set out to discover the levels of overall knowledge teachers possess regarding ADHD, the attitudes teachers hold towards ADHD and its associated inattentive/hyperactive behaviours, and if any demographic characteristics can predict these attitudes.
Exploratory factor analysis and multiple regression analysis were performed to establish the existence of groups of variables with respect to teacher knowledge of ADHD and teacher attitudes towards ADHD-type behaviours and any demographic predictors of teacher attitudes. Analysis showed that, overall, teachers exhibit an adequate (50–85% correct responses to knowledge test questions) knowledge of ADHD, but less sound knowledge in some areas than others, for example, aetiology. Analysis also demonstrated that there are some significant demographic predictors of teacher attitudes; however, further research is needed to verify these preliminary findings.