Public seminar: Call for collaboration between ADHD researchers

February 9, 2017

martin whitely picA Murdoch University scholar is calling for collaboration among researchers with differing views on Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Dr Martin Whitely, who is a prominent critic of ADHD child prescribing, will be presenting a seminar on the potential for what he terms ‘contested research’ to improve medical and psychiatric practice.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric disorder in the world and prescribing rates are rising rapidly. However, its diagnosis and treatment is highly controversial.

Dr Whitely said: “I believe ADHD is an extreme example of pro-pharmaceutical research bias leading to the overestimation of the benefits and underestimation of the risks of psychotropic drugs and a broadening of the definition of mental illness.”

“Contested research, where researchers with competing perspectives negotiate research questions and methodologies in open processes, could help achieve a more robust evidence base.”

Dr Whitely led research recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia that found the youngest children in WA primary school classes are approximately twice as likely as their oldest classmates to take ADHD medication.

The study was the fifth large scale international study to suggest that age related immaturity is being misdiagnosed as ADHD.

“I intentionally partnered with researchers who had never expressed a view on ADHD. Next time I would like to go one step further and partner with those who disagree with my views,” Dr Whitely added.

In this seminar Dr Whitely will identify several potential research projects relating to ADHD and other mental health conditions, and invite participation from potential research partners, including those with differing perspectives on ADHD.

The seminar will be of interest to researchers, policy makers, educators and members of the community.

Dr Whitely’s seminar will be held in Building 513 Learning Link LL 1.003 from 12:30pm to 1:30pm on Thursday 23 February. To attend, please RSVP by Wednesday 22 February, to


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