Skip to main content

Parental Cognitions and Adaptation to the Demands of Caring for a Child with an Intellectual Disability: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Clinical Interventions

  • Richard Hassall (a1) and John Rose (a2)

The manner in which parents adapt to the experience of caring for a child with an intellectual disability is generally thought to depend upon a range of variables typically conceptualized within multi-dimensional models. This review briefly describes three such models that share significant common features, incorporating child variables, environmental characteristics, and parental cognitive processes as contributors to parental coping styles or parenting stress. The effects of child and environmental characteristics on parenting stress and coping in parents of children with disabilities have been well documented. It is argued, however, that some aspects of cognitive processes in parents of these children have received less attention from researchers. In particular, there has been a large amount of research into parenting self-esteem, parental attributions, and parental locus of control with parents of other groups of children. This research is reviewed, and it is argued that further research into similar cognitions in parents of children with intellectual disabilities is warranted. Finally, the potential clinical implications of such research are examined in relation to behavioural interventions for children's behavioural difficulties. It is suggested that parental cognitions may influence the acceptability of such interventions and also be associated with their effectiveness.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Richard Hassall, Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust, Slade House, Horspath Driftway, Headington, Oxford OX3 7JH, UK. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • ISSN: 1352-4658
  • EISSN: 1469-1833
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioural-and-cognitive-psychotherapy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 83 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 654 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.