Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary Lou Kelley


The study examined attributions of responsibility, stability, and controllability of parents of children with or without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The relationship between attributions and acceptability of commonly used behavioral treatments also was examined. Participants were recruited from a hospital based outpatient clinic that mainly serves indigent families. The sample consisted of 50 parents of children diagnosed with ADHD and 50 parents of children without the diagnosis, who served as a comparison group. Assessment measures included an adapted version of the Powell Avoidance of Responsibility Scale (Powell & Rosen, 1999), the Conner's Parent Rating Scale (Conners, 1997), and the Treatment Evaluation Inventory (Kelley, Heffer, Gresham & Elliott, 1989). Parents of children with ADHD showed a higher rate of avoidance of responsibility, defined as strategies used to escape culpability of inappropriate behaviors. Results also showed that parents of children with ADHD rated inattentive-overactive and oppositional behaviors as less likely to change, and reported less parental responsibility for inattentive-overactive behaviors than the comparison group. Attributions of stability were found to affect acceptability ratings for Spanking, and attributions of parental responsibility affected acceptability of Time-out. Results indicate that parental attributions may be an important factor to consider when implementing behavioral treatments for ADHD. Limitations and future directions are discussed.