Having a child with a health or developmental problem: the experience of parents

Montréal, June 21, 2017. – About one out of four parents of children aged 0 to 5 (26%) report having at least one child with a health or developmental problem such as a physical disability, a developmental delay, a language disorder, an anxiety disorder or other problems (hyperactivity, attention disorder, autism spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder). These are the findings of a study released by the Institut de la statistique du Québec based on data from the 2015 Québec Survey on the Experience of Parents of Children Aged 0 to 5 (QSEPC). It should be noted that the statistics provided in this publication relate more specifically to families with at least one child aged 3 or over, since the problems measured are rarely detected before that age.

The findings show that parents who have a child with a health or developmental problem are more likely to put themselves under a lot of pressure regarding the way they take care of their children compared with other parents (27% vs. 19%). They are also more likely to have a lower sense of efficacy (29% vs. 20%), to feel less satisfied (25% vs. 19%) and to often experience a high level of stress regarding their children’s behaviour or difficulties (32% vs. 11%).

This study addresses several other aspects of the personal, conjugal and social life of parents, mothers and fathers such as satisfaction with the division of chores between spouses, use of parental support services, support from family and friends, and social pressure. For instance, 15% of parents who have a child with a health or developmental problem report feeling a lot of social pressure, compared with only 8% of other parents.

The publication can be downloaded from the website of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

About the QSEPC

Over 14,900 Québec parents with at least one child aged 0 to 5 completed the QSEPC questionnaire between January and May 2015. This statistical survey is regional in scope and provides findings on both mothers and fathers. It was funded by the organization Avenir d’enfants as part of the Perspectives parents initiative. The study published today follows up on the release of the report Mieux connaître la parentalité au Québec in May 2016.

 


The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for carrying out all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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