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Psychological well-being of fathers with and without a child with intellectual disability: a population-based study

Langley, E; Totsika, V; Hastings, RP; (2019) Psychological well-being of fathers with and without a child with intellectual disability: a population-based study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 10.1111/jir.12692. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Few studies have explored the well-being of fathers of children with intellectual disability (ID), despite the significant role that they play in their children's lives. The current study compared fathers of children with and without a child with ID on measures of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, work-family balance and general health) and dimensions of parenting (parenting self-efficacy and parent-child closeness) and then examined whether the presence of a child with ID in the family was a significant predictor of paternal well-being when controlling for a number of father (age, education, employment and residency), child (ID status, gender, behavioural and emotional problems) and family (income poverty and number of children in the household) variables. METHODS: Data were drawn from the third wave of the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK population-representative and cohort study, where the cohort child was 5 years of age; 256 fathers were identified as having a child with ID, with data available for 10 187 fathers without a child with ID. Fathers were compared on the four well-being and parenting outcomes and then multiple regression models were conducted to explore associations between these outcomes and variables identified as potential correlates of well-being. RESULTS: Initial group comparisons showed that there were differences in the well-being of fathers, with fathers of children with ID reporting poorer life satisfaction and general health. However, these differences were small. Regression analyses showed that child behavioural and emotional problems, living in income poverty and paternal employment were more important than disability status in predicting fathers' well-being. CONCLUSIONS: These works add to the limited amount of research on fathers using population-representative data. The current findings are consistent with rejecting a general simplistic and negative narrative that raising a child with ID puts fathers at risk of poorer outcomes. However, some fathers, such as those with children with behavioural problems and living in poverty, may require greater support. Future longitudinal research that explores the impact of paternal well-being on the long-term outcomes of children with and without ID is warranted.

Type: Article
Title: Psychological well-being of fathers with and without a child with intellectual disability: a population-based study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/jir.12692
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/jir.12692
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Families, fathers, intellectual disability, population sample, well-being
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086759
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