PREDICTORS OF CAREGIVER STRESS AMONG FAMILY MEMBERS OF SCHOOL GOING CHILDREN WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES IN LUSAKA URBAN
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Caring for a child who has an intellectual disability can be stressful on the part of caregivers within the family context. A limited number of studies conducted elsewhere on this subject have not focused on the entire family, but on parents of children with intellectual disabilities and results have shown that having a child with intellectual disability often places parents in a stressful condition. Greater knowledge of caregiver‟s well-being and their needs may allow for the improvement of existing services and the development of new strategies to sustain caregivers in their important roles. This study was aimed at determining specific features that impact on caregiver stress among family members of school-going children with intellectual disabilities. One hundred and thirty five (135) caregivers of school-going children with intellectual disabilities residing within Lusaka Urban area completed a questionnaire and checklists on a number of aspects surrounding their day to day care for their children with an intellectual disability. The majority of participants in this study were females (56%) and average age of participants was 35 years. Scores for the Psychological Stress Measure (PSM-9), suggested a slight increase in caregiver stress levels on average. Correlation analysis showed some moderate and significant relationships between caregiver‟s stress and independent variables of: respondent‟s relationship with the child (p < .001); respondent‟s marital status (p < .001); and coping mechanism of thinking very hard about resolving the problem (p < .01). Above all, this study shows that caregiver‟s stress in families of school-going children with intellectual disability in Lusaka urban seems to be predicted more by increased amount of time caregivers spent on acquiring information about the child‟s disability, followed by the number of people earning an income within the household, and use of coping mechanism of focusing all efforts to resolve a problem (F (9, 125) = 6.389, p < 0.001). Coping mechanism of thinking hard about steps to take mediated the relationship between predictor variable of time involved in acquisition of information about the child‟s disability and caregiver‟s level of stress. Similarly, number of people earning income in the household had a mediation effect on the relationship between predictor variable age and caregiver‟s level of stress.
The University of Zambia
Medical personnel--Services for.
Children with disabilities--Education.