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Families of preschool children with Down syndrome face a number of challenges from the condition itself and in normative transitions in the preschool age group.The accumulated stress undermines the family functioning. This cross-sectional study tested the pattern of relationships between factors of the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment, and Adaptation and family functioning among families of children with Down syndrome. The convenience and network
samplings were used to recruit 120 mothers of preschool children with Down syndrome from two university hospitals and one national institute for intellectually and developmentally disabled children in Bangkok. Data were obtained using the demographic interviewing questionnaire, Family Stressors and Strains Questionnaire, Family Hardiness Index, Social Support Questionnaire, Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales, and Chulalongkorn Family Inventory. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and path analysis.
The results showed that the model offered a good fit with the empirical data and could explain 47% of the variance in the family functioning. Family hardiness was the most influential factor directly affecting family functioning, followed by social support, and family demands, respectively. Neither family hardiness nor social support had indirect effects on family functioning through family problem-solving and coping. Nurses need to develop further intervention programs in Thailand for the families of preschool children with Down syndrome by teaching family members the essential skills to reduce their stress, strengthen hardiness in families, and mobilize a social support network to keep a balance of family
functioning. They can learn from international experiences of such programs.
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