Relationships between causal attributions, parenting strategies and child behaviour problems in parents of children with ID : the outcomes and methods of two studies

Jacobs, Myrthe and Woolfson, Lisa (2012) Relationships between causal attributions, parenting strategies and child behaviour problems in parents of children with ID : the outcomes and methods of two studies. In: Seattle Club Conference on Research in People with Learning Disabilities 2012, 2012-12-10.

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Abstract

Background: Research suggests that parents’ causal attributions for child behaviour are an important aspect related to parenting strategies and child behaviour problems. Using different instruments, two studies were undertaken to investigate relationships between these factors in parents of children with intellectual disability (ID). Methods: Fifty-one parents of children with ID participated in Study 1 and 35 in Study 2. In Study 1, the Written Analogue Questionnaire (WAQ) measured attributions through direct questions and vignettes while in Study 2 the Parent Cognition Scale (PCS) measured attributions through aggregated scales and asking parents to think back to their child’s behaviour. To assess child behaviour, the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) was used in Study 1 and the Nisonger Child Behavior Rating Form (NCBRF, developed for ID groups), was used in Study 2. The Parenting Scale (PS) measured ineffective strategies in both studies. Results: Study 1 found that attributions predicted strategies. However, strategies did not predict child behaviour. The results of Study 2 are expected to corroborate relationships between attributions and strategies and to provide insight into the underlying structure of attributions in parents of children with ID. Relationships between the PS and NCBRF would suggest the CBCL is inappropriate for ID groups, while absence of associations could suggest that PS strategies have a different meaning in TD and ID groups. Conclusions: The studies identify parents’ attributions as important predictors for strategies and stress that methods developed for TD groups cannot always be applied to ID groups as behaviour and strategies must be seen in a different contex.