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

Myrthe Jacobs*, Lisa Woolfson, Simon C. Hunter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Children with intellectual disabilities have high rates of behaviour problems. This study explored parents' causal beliefs and attributions for general problematic child behaviour in children with different aetiologies of intellectual disabilities. Materials and Methods: Ten parents of children with intellectual disabilities participated in interviews about their child's problematic behaviour. Results: Thematic analysis using NVivo revealed that parents viewed their child's problematic behaviour not only as caused by the child's intellectual disabilities but also by other causes unrelated to the intellectual disabilities, as well as by aspects of the social environmental context. Some causes were viewed as stable and uncontrollable and others as unstable and controllable. In addition, parents showed a strong sense of responsibility for child behaviour. Conclusions: Parents of children with intellectual disabilities do not solely interpret their child's problematic behaviour through the intellectual disabilities but incorporate the environment and causes and attributions that are not related to the intellectual disabilities, which may help to promote more effective parenting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Keywords

  • parenting
  • intellectual disability
  • child behaviour
  • causal attributions
  • causal beliefs
  • thematic analysis

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