Adaptability and cohesiveness in parents of children with pervasive developmental disorders

Jelena Krivokuća, Nada Vaselic, Mira Spremo, Jelisaveta Todorović

Abstract


Pervasive developmental disorders now are defined as organic - developmental disorders of brain function as manifested by difficulties in social interaction and communication, and stereotyped behaviors. This disorder is a major challenge to the overall functioning of the family. Modern research on functioning of family systems rely on Olson's classification system of functional and dysfunctional families based on the dimensions of cohesiveness and adaptability.

The aim of this research is to examine differences in family adaptability and cohesiveness between parents of children with pervasive developmental disorders and parents of children with typical development. In this study we used a questionnaire on demographic characteristics of the respondents (20 items) and questionnaire to measure family adaptability and cohesiveness FACES III, David Olson. The sample is appropriate, included 45 families, 15 couples of parents, thirty parents of children with pervasive disorder, and 30 couples of parent, 60 parents of children with typical development, in preschool and school age, with the average of 8.2 years of age.

Results of this study show that the family functioning in parents of children with pervasive developmental disorders, the dimensions of family adaptability and cohesiveness, are lower than in the parents of children with typical development of the same age. Also, mothers showed more pronounced symptoms of stress and depression than fathers in items relating to family life and it suggests the need for support by wider community in solving the problems faced by these families in exercising their parental role.




DOI: 10.5457/ams.v43i1 - 2.368