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Health, functionality, and social support in families with a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder - a pilot study

Journal article
Authors Diana Cavonius-Rintahaka
A. L. Aho
A. Voutilainen
Eva Billstedt
I Carina Gillberg
Published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Volume 15
Pages 1151-1161
Publication year 2019
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 1151-1161
Language en
Keywords parents, family health, family functionality, social support, neurodevelopmental disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, parents experiences, young-children, mental-health, stress, symptoms, mothers, autism, associations, adolescents
Subject categories Psychiatry, Neurosciences


Introduction: Several studies have reported that having a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) increases parental stress and that parental psychosocial functioning influences child's development and behavior. It is unclear how parents of children with NDD experience family functionality, family health and receive support and if there are differences between experiences of mothers and fathers. Methods: Families with children referred to a neurocognitive unit were invited to the study. A modified version of the FAmily Functionality, HEalth, and Social support (FAFHES) questionnaire was used. Open-ended questions were also included. Results: Parents rated their social support lower than their family functionality and family health. Family functionality correlated positively with family health. No significant differences were found between mothers' and fathers' experiences. A three-months test-retest using the FAFHES showed no significant change in ratings of family functionality, family health, and social support. Conclusions: Family functionality was connected to family health in families with a child with NDD. Mothers and fathers experienced their family health, family functionality, and received social support in similar ways.

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