A preliminary investigation of the prevelence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and its symptoms in selected Schools in Lusaka Urban

Thumbnail Image
Tembol, Abe
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Some teachers in primary and secondary schools in Zambia face difficulties handling children who exhibit impulsive, inattentive and hyperactivity symptoms because they may have a condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Research on ADHD in Zambia is scanty and the magnitude of the problem remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of ADHD and its three composites among grade four pupils and assess the challenges teachers face when using the ADHD scale in eliciting the symptoms of the three composites. The embedded quantitative and qualitative exploratory and descriptive research design. Seventy four (74) pupils were surveyed using Gilliam’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 36-item questionnaire and 20 teachers were interviewed on the challenges of employing the 36 item questionnaire. Results showed a general tendency to have mild or severe symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. However, tests of differences in the three ADHD subsets using the Tukey post hoc tests following ANOVA indicated that the mean scores did not differ significantly in the two gender since the p values were > 0.05. The most prevalent ADHD subtype was hyperactivity. The prevalence of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention was 12%, 10.3% and 10.3% in this order. Teachers faced an array of challenges in understanding and applying the ADHD tool and were all in agreement that they understood the concept hyperactivity. However, the construct ‘squirm’ has far-reaching importance for understanding and scoring children’s normal and abnormal development within the subset. The main finding of this study is that several descriptions in the three subsets seem not to be related to the constructs hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. Relating to impulsivity and inattentiveness, the two sub sets shed light on their multidimensional nature of meaning. Teachers seemed to give similar meanings of the constructs in a number of instances. In conclusion, the data from this study using ADHD DSM criteria to assess the prevalence of ADHD in a school going child population suggest that there is a convincing difference between the prevalence of this disorder in the West. Just like there are limited research studies from the continent addressing the epidemiology of ADHD and other childhood neuro-developmental disorders, this Zambian study is significant. There is need for profiling ADHD symptoms in our schools routinely. If adequate school health service planning is to be put in place on in magnitude and burden of ADHD and other childhood neuro-developmental disorders. Adaptation of the tool into the Zambian concepts can greatly help deal with the vocabulary that is foreign to the teachers and enable the administration of the tool with high validity. Zambia, further studies are required to potentially more accurately reflect the Inattention and pupils
MA Dissertation
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder , Hypersensitivity