Abdulrahman J Altourah, Ahmed Malalla Al Ansari, Nabeel Ali Suleiman, Haitham Ali Jahrami and Faisal K Al Mahmoud
Article publication date: 2021-03-01
Vol. 39 No. 1 (yearly), pp. 48-58.


ADHD, Bahrain, children, normal development, physical punishment.


Purpose: The use of physical punishment by parents varies across cultures. Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might use physical punishment at a higher rate than other parents due to the prevalence of behavioral problems among their children. This study compared the use of physical punishment by parents of children with ADHD and parents of typically developed (TD) children. Method: This descriptive and comparative study used a sample of 100 parents, including 50 parents (25 mothers and 25 fathers) with children aged 7–17 years who were diagnosed with ADHD (ADHD group) and an equal number of parents with children who were not diagnosed with ADHD (TD group). Both groups were recruited using convenience sampling at a psychiatric clinic. Results: The two groups had comparable demographic information. The ADHD group used physical punishment at a higher rate than the TD group (P=0.001) even when the parents were grouped by sex. In the TD group, the mothers used physical punishment twice as often as the fathers (40% and 20%, respectively; P=0.00). Most parents in the ADHD and TD groups had been subjected to physical punishment as children (74% and 64%, respectively). The prevalence of physical punishment against the TD children (30%) was significantly lower than the prevalence of past violence against their parents. The parental opinions of physical punishment as a disciplinary method did not significantly differ between the groups (P=0.294). Both groups made similar decisions regarding the use of physical punishment (P=0.235). Conclusion: Practitioners working with ADHD children should inquire about the use of physical punishment during their assessments due to its harmful effects.