What are the effects of long-term stress on families with a child with a developmental disability?

Date posted: 
Thursday, January 21, 2016

The number of children with a developmental disability (DD) is increasing in developed countries, due to advances in neonatal care and an increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders. Families with a child with a DD experience long term stress, as income, work schedules, sleep, and opportunities for recreation are all affected. Many families also experience social stigma and isolation. Links between stress and health are well established, yet, there have been very few studies of the health of family members of children who have a disability.

Sandra Marquis, a PhD student in the Social Dimensions of Health program at the University of Victoria, is aiming to shed light on this issue. Data access has been approved for her research project to determine if there is population-based evidence that families with a child with a developmental disability (DD) exhibit health outcomes as a result of long term stress.

“This study will expand the limited research available by examining the health of caregivers and siblings of children who have a developmental disability over a period of 30 years,” says Marquis.

The goal of this study is to improve the health of Canadians by moving research into policy, practice and programs. The findings will be reported to policy makers and presented at disability conferences.

PopData will link BC Ministry of Health and Statistics Canada Income Band data with Johns Hopkins University’s Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACG) case-mix system. This counts all diagnoses that an individual receives over a defined time period and groups them, along with age and gender information, into Aggregated Diagnostic Groups (ADGs) based on persistence, stability, and severity.

Page last revised: January 21, 2016