learning, communication impairments have tougher time,
(HealthDayNews) -- Family stress and
difficulties with learning and communication are the strongest
risk factors for the development of psychosocial problems among
Children who have impaired learning or communication skills
were much more likely than other disabled children to have poor
psychosocial adjustment, says a study in the July issue of the
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
Family stress caused by factors such as poverty and the
impact of the child's disability on the family also increased
the likelihood of psychosocial problems in disabled children.
The researchers analyzed information about 3,300 children,
aged 6 to 17, collected from the 1994 and 1995 U.S. National
Health Interview Surveys, which included special sections on
disability among household members.
The study excluded children with disabilities that were
Of the disabled children included in the study, about 11
percent had psychosocial problems, such as anxiety, depression,
hostility or poor interaction with their peers.
While children with limited mobility were not at increased
risk for these problems, children with disabilities that
hampered their ability to learn or communicate did have a
greater chance of having psychosocial problems.
The same was true for disabled children whose mothers
reported being distressed or depressed and for children whose
disabilities placed additional stresses on their families by
creating problems with work, sleep or finances.
"This study clarifies that physical limitations in themselves
are not detrimental to psychosocial adjustment and that there
needs to be stronger focus on the whole family when treating
children with disabilities," study author Whitney P. Witt,
Massachusetts General Hospital, says in a news release.
"Paying more attention to the family environment and
providing appropriate support services could make a significant
difference in how these children adjust," Witt says.