The differential effects of age, sex and sibling order of mentally retarded offspring on their parents

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Thirty-one parents of trainable mentally retarded males and females ranging in age from 3 to 21 were used as the sample. Two instruments, the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Evaluation Scale, and the Family Satisfaction Scale< were used to collect data. Responses were compiled and differences in mother-father responses were statistically analyzed, together with effects of age, sibling order and sex of the child.

No statistically significant differences were found between parents of male mentally retarded children and parents of female mentally retarded children on FACES II or FSS; nor were statistically significant differences found between parents of eldest siblings and those mentally retarded children born in other sibling positions on FACES II. However, mothers scored significantly higher on family adaptation and cohesion, and fathers scored significantly higher on family satisfaction. Parents of eldest female mentally retarded offspring scored significantly higher on family satisfaction than those parents with mentally retarded daughters of other sibling positions.

Information gathered from parents regarding their needs for community services and education centered on the family.