Parental cognitive impairment, mental health, and child outcomes in a child protection population

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Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 5(1): 66-90
Parents with cognitive impairments (CI) are overrepresented in child custody cases and their children are at risk for adverse outcomes. Ecological-transactional researchers propose that child outcomes are a function of the interaction of multiple distal, intermediate, and proximal risk and resilience factors. This study tested the fit of, and hypotheses from, an interactional model proposed by Feldman (2002) in a child protection sample of parents with CI (Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect [Trocmé et al., 2003]). We found a range of child outcomes, with many children without problems. Different child outcomes were associated with different types of alleged abuse. Low parental social support and mental health issues predicted child functioning, with parental mental health mediating the relationship between social support and child outcome. Findings support an interactional view of families with parents with CI and suggest the need for comprehensive, ecologically-based family interventions to promote parent and child well-being.
Canadian CW research
Journal article