Relationship between Parental Mental Health and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood

Bagur, S., Paz-Lourido, B., Mut-Amengual, B. y Verger, S. (2022). Relationship between Parental Mental Health and Developmental Disorders in Early Childhood. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(6), 1-10.

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Social intervention with children with disabilities and their families should be understood through the principles of family-centred practice. In Spain, early intervention is understood as interventions aimed at children from 0 to 6 years old and their families. Professionals carry out the reception, assessment and intervention. This study aims to analyse the relationship between mental and physical health, caregivers’ levels of anxiety and depression and the child’s development during the fostering and assessment phase. The sample is made up of 135 families using child development centres in the Balearic Islands. Four questionnaires were completed: Health-Related Quality of Life SF-12, Anxiety and Depression Scale, Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL 1½–5) and socio-demographic questionnaire. The results show that parents of children with disabilities have higher levels of mental health impairment than physical health impairment. They also score higher on anxiety than on depression. It is worth noting that professional discipline is a variable to be taken into account in relation to parents’ perception of their child’s developmental improvement. In addition, the association between the developmental subscales, where the more the child is affected, the more the parents’ mental health is affected. The same pattern occurs with caregivers’ levels of anxiety and depression. In short, we propose a reflection on the application of family-centred practices during interventions, understanding the lack of professional training as a predictor of the quality of early intervention.

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