Psychosocial Impacts of Mentally Retarded Children on Parents in Sudan
This study was conducted on a community sample from Khartoum state, Sudan to explore the psychological and social impacts of the mentally retarded child on his/her parents. The study hypothesized that these effects are directly related to the age, number of handicapped children in the family as well as the degree of mental retardation.
Methods and population: Seven centers for teaching and training of handicapped children were recruited in Khartoum State.
Ninety-one children aged 5-16 years were randomly selected and their intelligence quotient (I.Q) was determined. Interviews for 82 mothers and 64 fathers of these children were held using a standardized anonymous questionnaire including socio-demographic data and information about the
psychological and social impacts of the disability of children on their parents. The parents also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess the presence of anxiety and depression.
Results and discussion: The parents reported different psychological effects when they realized the children's disability. However, they tend to overcome their problem and become adapted to the situation. Sometimes, problems arise in the marital life and in social participation. The research
showed that most parents suffered from degrees of anxiety and depression ranging mainly from severe to moderate. The number, age or degree of retardation of the children did not affect the social and psychological impacts on the parents significantly. The study recommends preventative measures to reduce the factors that lead to mental retardation. It also recommends the provision of rehabilitation services and training of children in schools and special institutes, besides supporting their families psychologically and socially to reduce their
Keywords: Anxiety, depression, divorce, marital stability.