The Interviews

The VOICES Project team interviewed more than 150 children in the US and UK between the ages of 9-14. Some of the kids had ADHD and were taking stimulant medication, some had ADHD and were unmedicated and some of the kids we interviewed had no diagnosis at all (the control group).

The interviews lasted 60-90 minutes and followed an interview topic guide. We covered a range of topics to investigate children's experiences and perspectives around their sense of self, personal responsibility for behavior, and ability to control or make changes in their behavior. More specifically, we talked about getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, friends, school, brains, good and bad behaviour, right and wrong, hopes and disappointments; and of course, ADHD, stimulant medications and other treatments.

Because talking can be hard work, we encouraged drawing as a supplement to talking throughout the interview. We specifically asked kids to make drawings of their brains and asked about their views on how the brain could be related to their behaviour and possibly, to ADHD. See some of the brain drawings here.

To further investigate how children saw the relationship between the brain, behaviour and sense of self, we told a story (also called a 'moral vignette') in which a friendly fairy-tale dwarf offers to help solve a child's behavioural problems by exchanging his brain for a new one. We then asked children a series of questions that helped us understand their reasoning about whether or not the boy should accept the dwarf's offer.

Children were also asked to rank what caused them most anxiety in their everyday lives; the specific items were: Having ADHD, taking ADHD medication, homework, exams, global warming, and friendships