Mental ill‐health in mothers of people with intellectual disabilities compared with mothers of typically developing people: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

E Rydzewska, K Dunn, S-A Cooper, D Kinnear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Mothers of people with intellectual disabilities (IDs) face exceptional challenges and may be more prone to experiencing mental ill-health compared with mothers of typically developing people. These mental ill-health problems may differ at different stages of the caregiving trajectory. However, there is no evidence synthesis on this topic. We aimed to systematically review evidence in this area and identify gaps in the existing literature.

Method: Prospero registration: CRD42018088197. Medline, Embase, CINAHL and PsycINFO databases were searched. No time limits were applied. Studies were limited to English language. Inclusion criteria were studies of mothers of people with IDs that also included a comparison group of mothers of typically developing/developed children. Data were extracted from selected studies using a structured database. Study selection and quality appraisal were double rated. Where possible, meta-analyses were performed.

Results: Of the retrieved articles, 32/3089 were included, of which 10 reported on anxiety, 21 on depression and 23 on other indicators of mental ill-health. Overall, previous studies reported that mothers of people with IDs experienced poorer mental health as compared with mothers of typically developing people. Meta-analyses revealed significant findings for anxiety, depression, parenting stress, emotional burden and common mental disorders, but not for somatic symptoms. However, there was a considerable heterogeneity; hence, interpretation of results should be cautious. Identified gaps included scarce research on mental ill-health of mothers of adults with IDs at different stages of the caregiving trajectory.

Conclusions: There is evidence of poorer mental ill-health in mothers of people with IDs compared with mothers of typically developing people, but lack of focus on different stages of the caregiving trajectory, methodological inconsistencies between studies and lack of robust studies pose limitations. This highlights the need both for improved support for mothers of people with IDs and for further methodologically robust research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-534
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Volume65
Issue number6
Early online date19 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • intellectual disabilities
  • mental health
  • mothers
  • systematic review

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