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Practitioners Who Work with Parents with Intellectual Disability: Stress, Coping and Training Needs

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Background 

Challenges for practitioners who work with parents with intellectual disability arise from several sources. The purpose of the current study was to identify the stressors experienced by practitioners who work with parents with intellectual disability in Australia, investigate coping strategies and explore training needs so as to inform professional development for this group. Materials and Methods 

Fifty-eight, predominantly female Australian practitioners, completed a questionnaire, which included a demographics section and training questions (developed specifically for this study), in addition to the Mental Health Professionals Stress Scale, the Perceived Stress Scale, and the Brief COPE. Results 

The main stressors experienced by practitioners were workload, client-related difficulties and organizational structure and processes. Although practitioners indicated that they required additional training in 15 areas, one area was highlighted as particularly important, that is, tailoring interventions to individual parent needs and goals. Conclusions 

It is suggested that managers, service planners, educators and professionals involved in stress reduction be aware that this area may be the focal point of future training of practitioners who work with parents with intellectual disability.
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Keywords: coping; intellectual disability; parents; practitioners; stress; training

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia and Parenting Research Centre, Carlton, Victoria, Australia 2: Division of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3: Parenting Research Centre, Carlton, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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