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The function of parents and their children with cerebral palsy.

Murphy N, Caplin DA, Christian BJ, Luther BL, Holobkov R, Young PC.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT



To determine associations between the function of parents and that of their children with cerebral palsy (CP) and the influence of the levels of the child's impairment, parenting stress, parent self-efficacy, and family functioning.


Descriptive correlational cross-sectional survey.


Academic tertiary care children's hospital and pediatric specialty orthopedic hospital in the intermountain West.


A total of 51 parents or guardians who provide the majority of daily care in their homes for their children with CP between the ages of 5 and 18 years.


Survey of a convenience sample of parents of children with CP.


(1) Short-form 36 Health Survey v2.0 to measure parent mental and physical health; (2) Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory v4.0 to measure the physical, social, school, emotional and psychosocial function, and total quality of life of their children with CP; (3) Gross Motor Function Classification System to assess severity of the child's CP; (4) Parenting Stress Index; (5) Family Environment Scale, relationship dimension; and (6) Self-Efficacy for Parenting Tasks Index.


Positive correlations were found between parent physical health and the physical function of their children with CP (r = 0.32) and between parent mental health and the emotional function (r = 0.46), psychosocial function (r = 0.40), and total health-related quality of life (r = 0.38) of their children. When adjusting for severity of CP, we found that parenting stress and parenting self-efficacy attenuated these relationships to varying degrees.


A clear positive correlation was found between the function of parents and the function of their children with CP. Although a cross-sectional study does not demonstrate the direction of the relationship, it seems reasonable to conclude that clinicians who are attempting to directly maximize child function should also consider the potential value of interventions that support and improve parent function, particularly mental health.

Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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