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Child's positive and negative impacts on parents-A person-oriented approach to understanding temperament in preschool children with intellectual disabilities.

Journal article
Authors Petra Boström
Malin Broberg
Bodin Lennart
Published in Research in Developmental Disabilities
Volume 32
Pages 1860-1871
ISSN 0891-4222
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 1860-1871
Language en
Keywords Temperament, Child, Parent, Intellectual disability, Developmental delay, Impact on parent
Subject categories Applied Psychology


Background: Despite previous efforts to understand temperament in children with intellectual disability (ID), and how child temperament may affect parents, the approach has so far been unidimensional. Child temperament has been considered in relation to diagnosis, with the inherent risk of overlooking individual variation of children’s temperament profiles within diagnostic groups. The aim of the present study was to identify temperamental profiles of children with ID, and investigate how these may affect parents in terms of positive and negative impacts. Method: Parent-rated temperament in children with ID was explored through a personoriented approach (cluster analysis). Children with ID (N = 49) and typically developing (TD) children (N = 82) aged between 4 and 6 years were clustered separately. Results: Variation in temperament profiles was more prominent among children with ID than in TD children. Out of the three clusters found in the ID group, the disruptive, and passive/withdrawn clusters were distinctly different from clusters found in the TD group in terms of temperament, while the cluster active and outgoing was similar in shape and level of temperament ratings of TD children. Children within the disruptive cluster were described to have more negative and less positive impacts on mothers compared to children within the other clusters in the ID group. Conclusions: Mothers who describe their children as having disruptive temperament may be at particular risk for experiencing higher parenting stress as they report that the child has higher negative and lower positive impacts than other parents describe. The absence of a relationship between child temperament profile and positive or negative impact on fathers may indicate that fathers are less affected by child temperament. However, this relationship needs to be further explored.

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