Arch Hellen Med, 32(3), May-June 2015, 318-327
Health-related quality of life in parents of children with intellectual disability
T.V. Kastanias, H.T. Douda, S.A. Batsiou, S.P. Tokmakidis
OBJECTIVE Special clinical characteristics and socio-psychological difficulties are observed in individuals with intellectual disability (ID) which may have a negative impact on the psychological and physical health of their parents. This study aimed to evaluate various aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in parents of children suffering from ID.
METHOD The sample consisted of 354 parents, aged 48.15±14.2 years, who had a child attending a special education school or institution. The instrument Health Survey SF-36 (scoring 0–100) was used to evaluate the physical and socio-psychological health of the parents.
RESULTS The SF-36 scoring revealed the following results: Physical functioning (PF): 74.35±23.77, role physical (RP): 75.81±37.04, physical pain (BP): 67.23±29.55, general health (GH): 62.47±22.13, vitality (VT): 57.66±20.75, social functioning (SF): 71.97±27.69, role emotional (RE): 68.27±39.77, and mental health (MH): 58.32±22.43. The internal consistency reliability measured by Cronbach's alpha was 0.903. The Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric analysis of variance and the Mann-Whitney U-test revealed no significant gender (father – mother) differences in health-related quality of life, but a significant negative impact of parental age on specific items, namely PF: U=11,088, RP: U=11,898, BP: U=11,070, GH: U=10,422, VT: U=12,042, and SF: U=12,078 (p≤0.007). The marital status of the parents was negatively associated with RP: U=11,898 (p=0.02) and RE: U=11,376 (p=0.004), and when an increase in the number of children was taken into consideration, analysis of variance also revealed a negative influence on PF: x2=51.665, BP: x2=16.485, SF: x2=19.301, RE: x2=30.670 (p=0.000), and MH: x2=6.840 (p=0.033). Parents with chronic illness recorded lower HRQoL, specifically RP: U=10,566, BP: U=5,652, VT: U=8,334, SF: U=9,414, PF: U=3,618 and GH: U=3,114 (p<0.001). The parental educational status positively affected PF: x2=21.446, BP: x2=6.201, GH: x2=13.827, VT: x2=10.292, SF: x2=17.114 and MH: x2=27.250 (p<0.05). In addition, a negative relationship was found between abnormal parental body mass index (BMI) and HRQoL, specifically PF: x2=28.137, RP: x2=11.348, BP: x2=25.325, GH: x2=70.140, VT: x2=41.868, MH: x2=20.897 (p<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Parents of children suffering from ID record low scores on HRQoL scales, indicating a poor level of physical and mental health.
Key words: Intellectual disability, Mental health, Physical health, Quality of life, SF-36.