Assessment of the quality of life in families with children who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in Slovenia

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Abstract

Background

Research was conducted, within the framework of the International Family Quality of Life Project, on the quality of life of families with a member who has a disability. We concentrated on the nine specific domains that the family life measure used, and recorded data from five of its six measurement dimensions: Importance, Opportunities, Initiative, Attainment and Satisfaction.

Method

The sample consisted of 20 families from Slovenia with children who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The data were collected using the Family Quality of Life Survey-2006.

Results

Except for Community Interaction, the other domains (Health, Financial Well-Being, Family Relations, Support from Others, Support Services, Influence of Values, Careers, Leisure and Recreation) show statistically significant differences among the five dimensions measured. Importance was rated highest, and Attainment and Opportunities were rated lowest, while Initiative and Satisfaction were evaluated lower than Importance but higher than Attainment and Opportunities. Among the domains of family life, Family Relations was evaluated the highest from the perspective of all five dimensions.

Conclusions

The family members rated Importance high for all of the quality of family life domains, but it appears from the lower Opportunities scores that their opportunities are limited; this may result in fewer possibilities for attaining a better quality of life. The results of our research are useful to Slovene researchers who work in the areas of special pedagogy and rehabilitation, politicians, non-governmental organisations and social services. The quality of life of families with children with disabilities, their empowerment and their inclusion into community life should be significantly enhanced when consideration is given to all the family members' support and service needs.

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