Predictors of Psychological Morbidity in Parents of Children with Intellectual Disabilities

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ObjectiveThis study examined predictors of excess psychological morbidity in parents of children with intellectual disabilities.MethodsThirty-two parents of children with intellectual disabilities and 29 parents of typically developing children completed the Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale, and measures of social support, child problem behaviors, sleep quality, and perceived caregiver burden.ResultsParents of children with intellectual disabilities registered high depression and anxiety scores, and the majority met the criteria for possible clinical depression and/or anxiety. The strongest predictor of psychological morbidity was caregiver burden. Analyses of its component dimensions indicated that feelings of guilt held the greatest consequence for depression and anxiety.ConclusionsCaregiver burden, in general, and its guilt component, in particular, predicted symptoms of depression and anxiety in parents of children with intellectual disabilities. Assisting such parents to resolve their feelings of guilt should benefit their psychological status.

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