Family Distress High With Suspected Fetal Alcohol Effects
G. Raising a child with fetal alcohol
syndrome: Effects on family functioning. Dissertation Abstracts International,
63(11):4110, 2003. (169482)
This study examined families raising a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in terms of family distress and parental negative emotion, and the functioning of families raising a child with FAS or related conditions. Participants included 105 parents, 85 mothers and 20 fathers, raising a child who was diagnosed with any of the fetal alcohol related conditions or who was suspected of having any of these conditions. Results from mothers indicated that there is a difference between the diagnostic categories of FAS, fetal alcohol effects (FAE) and possible fetal alcohol syndrome/effects (FAS/E) in measures of family distress and parental negative emotion. Families raising a child with FAS experienced significantly less family distress than those raising a child with FAE or possible FAS/E. Similarly, families raising a child with either FAS or FAE experienced significantly less parental negative emotion than families raising a child with possible FAS/E. In addition, there was a significant relationship between the family characteristic variable hardiness and both dependent variables family distress and parental negative emotion. As hardiness increased, both family distress and parental negative emotion decreased in mothers. Finally, the variables (number of parents in the home, support level, and family hardiness) did moderate the association between a child's diagnosis and parental negative emotion. Findings suggest that an appropriate diagnosis can positively affect family functioning, and that a particular family strength (e.g., hardiness) can also influence family functioning. Interventions should identify individuals affected by prenatal alcohol exposure and strengthen families to minimize ineffective coping.
FAS Community Resource Center