AN INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACT OF CHILDREN WITH BIRTH DEFECTS ON STRESS IN THEIR FAMILIES
A child with a birth defect places physical, financial and emotional stress upon the family. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of a mildly handicapped child on the family's coping abilities. Two groups, 101 mothers of children with birth defects and 107 mothers of intact children, completed the Holroyd Questionnaire on Resources and Stress and the Luborsky Social Assets Scale. From these groups, 86 pairs were matched on four factors: the age (two to eight years) and sex of the study child and the mother's education and marital status. The children with birth defects had completed the diagnostic evaluation at the Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics, Texas Children's Hospital. Children with severe defects were excluded. The mean I.Q of the group was 88, s.d. 17; 17 children were mildly retarded and 35 had an I.Q. of 100 or above; areas of dysfunction included motor abnormalities, behavior disturbance, speech problems, and sensory impairments. The expected direction and statistically significant differences were obtained from the data for the matched pairs on the Q.R.S. scales. The mothers of children with a birth defect reported poor health, a negative attitude toward the child, being over-protective, financial problems and feeling a lack of social support and family integration. They perceived the child as socially obtrusive, limited as to occupational opportunities, and as having a difficult personality. The functioning levels of the handicapped children contributed to the respondent's problems. The child with behavior and speech problems but adequate intelligence was a situation which resulted in a poor health/mood of the mother. The mother's pessimism was related to the child's low intelligence. The social assets of the respondents with intact children were significantly higher than those of respondents of handicapped children. There was no relationship between the total social assets score and the scores on the Q.R.S. for mothers of handicapped children. These mothers did report poorer physical conditions, more smoking, and quarreling of their parents as they grew up.
MURPHY, MARY ADA, "AN INVESTIGATION OF THE IMPACT OF CHILDREN WITH BIRTH DEFECTS ON STRESS IN THEIR FAMILIES" (1980). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8212725.