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Keywords:

  • family quality of life;
  • family quality of life theory;
  • intellectual disabilities;
  • measurement;
  • theory application

Abstract

Noting the absence of sound theoretical underpinnings for family quality of life (FQoL) research and work, the authors note that, to guide FQoL practice, research findings must be schematically organized so as to enable practitioners to implement empirical findings effectively. One way to meet this goal is to introduce a theoretical model that clearly displays and describes the relationships among variables that explain FQoL. Thus, the authors propose a theory of FQoL designed to explain how various concepts—systems, performance, individuals, and family units—influence variations in FQoL. In defining each of the concepts, they describe the theory's application within the context of a family vignette, illustrating how professionals might apply theoretical propositions to their practice. In their application, they stress that the application of the FQoL theory they presented is not an end but rather a developmental stage that leads to further refinement of the FQoL theory. The application and development of this theory is a reciprocal process among researchers, practitioners, and families. Further, their FQoL theoretical model can serve to enable practitioners to examine which family, ecological, and programmatic variables are amenable to change to positively impact FQoL. Given this, they assert that FQoL is not a static concept but, instead, ebbs and flows during the course of raising a child with a disability. They call for further collaborative work among workers to continually improve the FQoL theory and to successfully implement it in practice.