Functional Impairment in Latino Children with ADHD: Implications for Culturally Appropriate Conceptualization and Measurement
Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review
Conceptualizing and measuring functional impairment related to childhood ADHD, particularly within the rapidly growing, yet underserved, Latino population, is an important area of research that is in its infancy in the field of psychology. The functional impairments related to academic achievement, social competence, and familial relations experienced by children with ADHD lead to long-lasting and debilitating difficulties that adversely affect the individuals themselves, their families, and society. In addition, limited available research suggests that Latino children are at a great or greater risk for developing ADHD, although they are much less likely to be identified by their parents as displaying problematic behavior and subsequently are less likely to receive proper assessment and treatment due to several practical and cultural factors. Fortunately, initial evidence suggests that the construct of functional impairment may be a more universal notion than the potentially culturally biased measurement of symptomatology. Therefore, in order to provide the best possible outcomes for all children with ADHD, research needs to be expanded to include examination of functional impairment related to ADHD, particularly when working with Latino children and their families. Thus, the primary aim of the current review is to examine and critique how the field of psychology has understood and measured functional impairment in school-aged Latino children with ADHD to date. Based on information reviewed, suggestions for moving toward a culturally modified assessment of functional impairment related to ADHD in Latino children will be proposed. This work is a necessary step toward providing culturally appropriate services for a currently underserved, yet rapidly growing, Latino population in our country.