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Attributions of stability, control and responsibility : how parents of children with intellectual disabilities view their child's problematic behaviour and its causes

Jacobs, Myrthe and Woolfson, Lisa and Hunter, Simon C. (2016) Attributions of stability, control and responsibility : how parents of children with intellectual disabilities view their child's problematic behaviour and its causes. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 29 (1). pp. 58-70. ISSN 1360-2322

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Abstract

Background: Children with intellectual disabilities (ID) have high rates of behaviour problems. The aim of this study was to explore parents’ causal beliefs and attributions for general problematic child behaviour in children with different aetiologies of ID. Materials and Methods: Ten parents of children with ID participated in interviews about their child’s problematic behaviour. Results: Thematic analysis revealed that parents viewed their child’s problematic behaviour as caused by the child’s ID, by environmental shortcomings, and by other factors unrelated to the ID. Some causes were viewed as stable and uncontrollable and others as unstable and controllable. Additionally, parents showed a strong sense of responsibility for child behaviour. Conclusions: Parents of children with ID do not solely interpret their child’s problematic behaviour through the ID but incorporate the environment and non-ID-related causes and attributions which may help to promote more effective parenting.