Differences in Functioning of Families Of Children with Intellectual Disabilities In Relation to the Number of Children in the Family

Milena Nikolić, Adelisa Salkić, Medina Vantić-Tanjić


To determine the quality of family relationships the terms functionality and dysfunction are used and refer to patterns of organizing the family process. The study aims to determine whether the number of children in families of children with intellectual disabilities affects its functioning. The sample consisted of parents of children with intellectual disabilities of primary school age (N=40), of whom 28 were parents (70.0%) with one and two children and 12 parents (30.0%) with three or more children. Family functioning was examined by the Beavers model, and the Self-report Family Inventory scale Version II was applied. The scale assesses five family dimensions: health/competencies, conflict, cohesion, leadership, and expressiveness, while lower scores indicate higher competencies across all dimensions. After giving written consent to participate in the study, the parents completed the scale individually. Only one parent provided family information. The results of the study show that out of 28 families with one or two children, 11 (39.28%) are functional and 17 (60.71%) are dysfunctional families, while in families where there are three or more children, 12 of them, has 4 (33.3%) functional and 8 (66.6%) dysfunctional families. Although families that are slightly more dysfunctional are present in families with one and two children, the differences are not statistically significant, and there is no statistically significant difference in the functioning of families of children with intellectual disabilities about the number of children. The results of the research by dimensions showed that families of children with intellectual disabilities do not differ statistically significantly on any of the five family dimensions. Both groups of families, families with one and two children and families with three and more children achieve on all family dimensions scores below the mean of the dimensions, meaning that both groups of families exhibit good competencies across all dimensions.
Due to the limitations of the research relating to the small total sample, small sub-samples, and the fact that
mothers mainly evaluated the functioning of families, there is a need to repeat the research.


family functioning; Beavers model; intellectual disabilities

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ISSN: 2490-3604 (print) ● ISSN: 2490-3647 (online)

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