Associations between behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual disability, parent perceptions and parental mental health


Objectives. This study examined parental perceptions of behaviours that challenge (CB) in their adult children with intellectual disability (ID), and explored whether perceptions mediated associations between CB and parental psychological distress. Design. A within-group correlational design was employed. Methods. Sixty-five parents reported on individuals with genetic syndromes and ID who had chronic behaviours that challenge (CB). Parents completed the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised (IPQ-R) adapted to measure perceptions of self-injury, aggression or property destruction, alongside assessments of parental locus of control, attributions about behaviour, parental psychological distress, and CB. Results. A high proportion of parents evidenced anxiety and depression at clinically significant levels (56.9% and 30.8%, respectively). Contrary to predictions, psychological distress was not significantly associated with CB. The perception that the adult with ID exerted control over the parent’s life mediated the association between CB and parental psychological distress. Few parents endorsed operant reinforcement as a cause of CB (< 10%). Conclusions. The high levels of psychological distress in parents is notable and of concern. Further research should consider the reasons why parents have causal attributions that might be inconsistent with contemporary interventions. Key words: Adults; parents; attributions; self-regulatory model; challenging behaviour; intellectual disability.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Applied Health Research Group
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Waite, J., Rose, J., Wilde, L., Eden, K., Stinton, C., Moss, J. and Oliver, C. (2017), Associations between behaviours that challenge in adults with intellectual disability, parental perceptions and parental mental health. Br J Clin Psychol, 56: 408–430, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: adults,attributions, challenging behaviour,intellectual disability,parents, self-regulatory model
Publication ISSN: 2044-8260
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://onlineli ... .12146/abstract (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-10-04
Published Online Date: 2017-08-12
Accepted Date: 2017-05-27
Authors: Waite, Jane (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8676-3070)
Rose, John
Wilde, Lucy
Eden, Kate
Stinton, Chris
Moss, Jo
Oliver, Chris



Version: Accepted Version

License: ["licenses_description_other" not defined]

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