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Soziologie

New Paper on a Debated Parenting Practice in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement by Sebastian Sattler

Veröffentlicht am 15. Juni 2022, 13:34 Uhr

Hiltrop, K., Sattler, S. (2022, online first): Parents’ Perceptions on the Debated Parenting Practice of Cognitive Enhancement in Healthy Children and Adolescents. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement (shared 1st authorship). LINK

Parents’ Perceptions on the Debated Parenting Practice of Cognitive Enhancement in Healthy Children and Adolescents

Abstract

First evidence shows that some parents engage in the health-endangering practice of (mis-)using prescription drugs to boost their children’s school performance. But little is known about parental perspectives on this phenomenon. This study aims to better understand parents’ perspectives on the non-medical use of prescription drugs to improve healthy children’s cognitive functioning. We conducted twelve semi-structured face-to-face interviews with a diverse sample of parents in Germany, and applied qualitative content analysis to explore their perspectives on instrumentalizing prescription drugs for improving the performance of healthy children, including their underlying knowledge (gaps), moral evaluations, evaluations of accompanied risks and benefits, opinions on potential motivators, and wishes regarding policy-making. The results show that parents typically believed themselves knowledgeable about such prescription drug (mis-)use, although they were not aware of anyone in their social environment taking them for enhancement. Parents generally considered such behavior to be morally reprehensible, cheating, and similar to doping in sports, and they typically claimed that no situation or occasion could motivate them to administer prescription drugs to their healthy children. Health risks (including side effects or addiction) were a typical expectation of drug use. That doctors should give such drugs to healthy young people was seen as unjustifiable. The results suggest that morality and risk–benefit evaluations of parents play a major role in their decision-making concerning this potentially risky instrumentalization of non-medical drugs. These insights are of distinct importance, especially for future research and further discussions on this topic, such as an evidence-based public dialog and ethics debates.

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