Cognitive factors and subjective wellbeing in parents who have children with profound and multiple intellectual disability
Coiffait, Fleur-Michelle Marguerite
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Aims: The aims of this thesis were twofold. First, to review the literature on parental locus of control and its role in psychological outcomes for parents who have a child with an intellectual disability (ID). Second, a research study aimed to explore levels of parental subjective wellbeing in a specific group of these parents: those who have a child with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities (PMID). More specifically, whether two different types of parental cognition, parental locus of control and recognition of positive gains of having a child with PMID, were predictive of parental subjective wellbeing. Method: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to address the first aim. For the research study, a single sample of parents and family caregivers (n=101) completed three quantitative self-report questionnaires as part of a within-participant, cross-sectional survey design. These included the Positive Gain Scale, a modified version of the Parental Locus of Control Scale, and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale . Results: The systematic review highlighted the influence of parental locus of control and other parental cognitions on parent and family psychological outcomes. The research study revealed that parental subjective wellbeing in this group of parents (N= 101) was lower than in the general population. Multiple regression analysis revealed that parental locus of control significantly predicted parental subjective wellbeing (β= -.279, t(2,99)= 9.419, p= .005), accounting for around 8% of the variance in WEMWBS scores, R2= .081, F(2,99)= 5.474, p= .006. Conclusions and implications: Although the systematic review and the research study highlighted the importance of parental locus of control for parents of children with ID, the results of the study suggest that other factors are also involved in influencing subjective wellbeing of parents of children with PMID. They also indicate a potential role for psychological intervention for parents and families with a focus on adjusting beliefs and expectations and promoting an internal parental locus of control. However, further research exploring the emotions and experiences of this group of parents is needed.