Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 > Chronic stress and health among parents of children with int...
Current Opinion in Psychiatry:
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e32833a8796
Mental retardation and developmental disorders: Edited by Nick Bouras

Chronic stress and health among parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Miodrag, Nancya; Hodapp, Robert Ma,b

Collapse Box


Purpose of review: This article reviews recent studies connecting chronic stress to health outcomes in parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This review is timely owing to the increased rates of certain I/DD conditions and the adverse effects that chronic stressors may have on parental health.

Recent findings: Although parents raising children with (versus without) I/DD have long reported greater levels of psychological stress, only recently have parental physical health problems been linked to aspects of the child with I/DD.

Summary: Chronic stressors can wear down the body, particularly the cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems. So far, increased rates of caregiver health problems have been linked to caring for an elderly parent or for a child with recurrent cancer. Parents of children with I/DD also more often encounter severe, chronic stressors, particularly those involving child behavior problems and extreme caregiving need. These child characteristics, especially for older parents or for parents of children with certain conditions (e.g. spina bifida), may adversely affect parental health. More research is needed to explore stress–health connections among parents of children with I/DD, as well as the clinical and policy implications of such findings.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.