Family functioning and environmental resources offered by families of children with mental disorders

Eduarda Souza Dilleggi, Ana Paula Rosa, Patricia Leila dos Santos

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2019.030

Abstract


Introduction. The presence of mental disorders in a family may cause various losses in its functioning and characteristics.

Objective. To determine which environmental resources are offered to children with mental disorders by their families and how they correlated with the family functioning.

Method. The study included a total of 33 persons responsible for children with mental disorders. The subjects responded to two questionnaires to characterize family functioning (FACES IV) and the availability of resources in the family environment (RAF). Data were analyzed in a descriptively and the Spearman correlation test was used to identify associations between variables.

Results. Most of the children were male and attended school, and the most frequent psychiatric diagnoses were attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Most families were considered to have good family functioning (87.9%), with only 12.1% being considered dysfunctional. Regarding environmental resources, the highest mean values were assigned to the presence of toys (6.9 ± 2.0) and to family gatherings for routine activities (6.6 ± 2.3). Family cohesion, flexibility, communication, and satisfaction (functional) were positively correlated with the offer of activities and resources and negatively correlated with unbalanced (dysfunctional) subscales.

Discussion and conclusion. Children’s mental disorders do not appear to affect family dynamics in a significant manner. However, family functioning interferes with the types of activities and resources it offers to the child and that may have an impact on his/her development.

Keywords


Family functioning; family environment; mental disorders; child; protective factors

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