During the last 30 years, several studies have indicated that children with disabilities are at increased risk for emotional and behavioral morbidity. Population-based studies are needed to understand the relationship between functional status, family stressors, and the psychosocial adjustment of children with disabilities.
Using data from the 1994 and 1995 National Health Interview Surveys, Disability Supplement, this study examines the associations between children's functional status, family stressors, and the psychosocial adjustment of school-aged children with disabilities.
Regression analyses indicate that children's functional impairments in the areas of communication or learning, poor maternal health and mental health, family burden, and poverty are significantly and positively associated with psychosocial maladjustment among children with disabilities.
Children's functional activity limitations and family stressors are significant correlates of psychosocial adjustment among children with disabilities. These data indicate a need for routine screening for mental health problems among children with disabilities, as well as a family-oriented approach to their medical care.