Coping strategies adopted by parents of children with intellectual disabilities

Manoel Antonio dos Santos Maria Laura de Paula Lopes Pereira-Martins About the authors

Abstract

The tasks of caregiving for children with disabilities involve contextual life stressors. The study aimed to investigate the coping strategies used by parents of children with intellectual disabilities (ID). The search included articles published between 2001 and 2015 on the PubMed, LILACS and PsycINFO databases, using the following key words: intellectual disability, coping, parents, caregivers, family. Thirteen articles were selected, the majority of which adopt a cross-sectional, comparative and quantitative approach. Results indicated that caring for a person with ID is stressful for the family. Parental stress generates changes in the family dynamic and coping strategies are used to facilitate the interaction of the caregiver with the person with ID. Seeking social support in family and professional services, the union of spouses, and search for information, among others, are the main strategies used. Social support was strongly associated with strengthening of the family unit. In contrast, wishful thinking, self-blame, distancing and social isolation were negatively associated with family unity. It is necessary to sensitize health professionals and educators to embrace the theme in public policies and preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Intellectual disability; Psychological adaptation; Parents; Caregivers; Review

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