Adults with learning disabilities who become parents face a range of challenges in addition to those faced by their non-disabled peers. As adults with disabilities, they are more likely to be socially isolated and at risk of poor psychological well-being and the added pressure of parenthood can magnify these risks.
The authors of the current review set out to look at the psychological well-being and social support among parents with learning disabilities The authors use Sterling’s “determinants of parenting” model to discuss their findings.
A systematic search of electronic databases identified 8 studies which met the inclusion criteria. The findings suggest that parents with learning disabilities experience poorer psychological well-being than parents in the general population.
The authors also found a relationship between psychological well-being and social support.
They found two intervention studies with evidence of improvements in psychological well-being achieved by improvements in social support.
Another interesting finding was that the relationship between social support and parenting ability was supported by findings of a positive relationship between satisfaction with social support and positive maternal reactions.
The authors also make a number of recommendations for further research to explore the relationship between psychological well-being and social support.
Psychological Well-Being and Social Support for Parents With Intellectual Disabilities: Risk Factors and Interventions, Darbyshire, L. & Stenfert Kroese, B., in Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 9: 40–52.