Empowerment, Anxiety and Depression in Families using Early Childhood Intervention Services

Bagur, S., Paz-Lourido, B., Rosselló, M.R. y Verger, S. (2022). Empowerment, Anxiety and Depression in Families using Early Childhood Intervention Services. European Journal of Special Needs Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2022.2062908

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Families of children with disabilities may experience mental health problems, feelings of emotional isolation or parental role incompetence. Early intervention (ECI) acts through Family-Centred Practices (FCP) to support child development and, at the same time, strengthen family capacities and inclusion. The aim of the study is to analyse the level of empowerment and the level of anxiety and depression of family members during the reception and assessment phase in ECI services in the Balearic Islands (Spain). The design is non-experimental cross-sectional with a mixed methodology. In the quantitative phase, information was collected from 135 relatives (78.5% women, 21.5% men) using three questionnaires. In the qualitative phase, information was collected through five focus groups with 30 participants (56.7% women, 43.3% men). The main results show that family members report higher levels of family empowerment compared to the service system or to community-policy empowerment. The findings showed greater levels of anxiety than depression, feelings of despair, uncertainty or exhaustion where also detected. Professional support contributes to improved socio-emotional well-being. Professionals are encouraged to identify the level of family empowerment and initial emotional well-being to enhance the quality of the intervention.

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