Caregiving burden of families looking after persons with intellectual disability and behavioural or psychiatric problems

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BackgroundDuring the last decade, there has been a growing interest in outpatient support services for persons with intellectual disability (ID) and psychiatric and/or behavioural problems and their families. In this study, we explore the family burden that is associated with children or adults with ID and behavioural or psychiatric problems living at home.MethodThe research group consisted of 66 clients of In Casa, a project of outpatient treatment. Their average age is 18.97 years and their average IQ 55.37. The Reiss Screen for Maladaptive Behaviour (adults) or Reiss Scales for Children's Dual Diagnosis (children) and the Nijmegen Family Situation Questionnaire have been administered.ResultsAbout 62% of the children and 86% of the adults living at home and referred to In Casa have severe psychiatric or behavioural problems as measured by the Reiss scales. The dual diagnosis has a more negative impact on the family situation than the condition of ID only.ConclusionParents consider the psychiatric or behavioural problems of their child to be an extra burden and feel it more difficult to raise and manage such a child. This impels them to change the situation and to call on the help of external services. Some methodological questions and the implications of the findings in terms of support needs are discussed.

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