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February 1967

Parents of Mentally Handicapped ChildrenA Social Psychiatric Case Study

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC
From the Walter Reed Institute (Dr. Fabrega) and the Diagnostic and Development Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC (Dr. Haka). Dr. Fabrega is now at Baylor University Medical School, Houston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;16(2):202-209. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730200070010

THIS PAPER reports results of studying the adjustment or mental health of parents who have a mentally handicapped child. Previous work by Farber1,2 has studied, from a social and family-centered viewpoint, the disintegrative effects mentally retarded children have on family organization. A variety of other studies3-10 have reported on the attitudes and feelings of these parents, mentioning the personal difficulties they experience in coping with the problems posed by the child's development. In this study, a modification of the psychological factors employed by Caplan11 in evaluating behavior in crisis situations is used to assess, from a mental health standpoint, a sample of parents of children with mental handicaps. These factors rely on criteria and indices intrinsic to the problems the parents face in socializing their child. The results are taken as an operational measure of the parents' mental health in the

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