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Family quality of life of Australian families with a member with an intellectual/developmental disability

Authors


Dr Fiona Rillotta, Disability and Community Inclusion, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia (e-mail: fiona.rillotta@flinders.edu.au).

Abstract

Background  Family quality of life (FQOL) is a recent concept in intellectual/developmental disability research. Outcomes for the family are important to the provision of services because families, rather than institutions, are increasingly considered the primary support unit. This article presents Australian findings using the international Family Quality of Life Survey: Main Caregivers of People with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (FQOLS-2006).

Method  Forty-two South Australian main caregivers of people with an intellectual/developmental disability were interviewed using the FQOLS-2006. The FQOL domains assessed were Health of the Family, Financial Well-being, Family Relationships, Support from Other People, Support from Disability-Related Services, Influence of Values, Careers, Leisure and Recreation, and Community Interaction. Domains were measured in terms of Importance, Opportunities, Attainment, Initiative, Stability and Satisfaction. The FQOLS-2006 asked about the family's practical and emotional Support from Other People together, whereas the current study separated the constructs of practical and emotional support. Questions pertaining to FQOL in the past were also added, in order to gain a broader picture of present FQOL.

Results  Results indicated that families considered all the FQOL domains to be important. However, Health, Family Relationships and Financial Well-being were regarded as slightly more important than Practical and Emotional Support from Others. The attainment of Family Relationships, Health, Values, and Leisure and Recreation were rated as quite a bit, but Practical Support from Other People was only rated as a little. Families were generally satisfied with all FQOL domains, but they were satisfied with their Family Relationships and they were neither satisfied or dissatisfied with their Financial Well-being. Results also indicated that there was a need to distinguish between the provision of practical and emotional support from others, because the attainment of emotional support was rated at a slightly higher level than practical support.

Conclusions  The FQOLS-2006 provided a comprehensive measure of FQOL, which, with some additional modifications, could be used to better inform service provisions and ultimately enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families.

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