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Family systems theorists believe families have predictable, automatic behavior patterns. Families with learning disabled (LD) children have been found to experience a variety of maladaptive relationship patterns. This research investigated the question, "Do school-age children with LD have a significant effect on their parents' perceptions of their family's adaptability and cohesion, as measured by the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scales II (FACES II)?"

In Response to this question, two primary hypotheses were proposed. The first predicted a significant difference on perceptions of family adaptability and cohesion among fathers and mothers of school-age LD and non-LD children. Parents of non-LD chidren were expected to score higher on adaptability and cohesion than parents of LD children.

The second hypothesis predicted a significant difference between parents of different marital statuses (single parent, married once, and remarried) on perceptions of family adaptability and cohesion among families with LD and non-LD children. Regardless of marital status, parents of LD children were expected to score significantly lower on adaptability and cohesion than parents of non-LD children.

Families with school-age children attending elementary schools in the Newberg School District were selected and assigned to one of two groups: families having an LD child (n=128) and those without a LD child (n=128). Data were collected via a mail survey questionnaire using brief demographic questionnaires and the FACES II. Responses were received from 139 families yielding a total of 229 participants.

No significant differences were found between LD and non-LD families regarding the demographic data collected. Statistical analysis (ANOVA) found that LD children do not significantly effect their parents' perceptions of family adaptability and cohesion, as measured by FACES II. Parent gender significantly affected adaptability scores on FACES II and marital status significantly affected cohesion scores on FACES II. No other significant results were found.

Results, implications, and limitations of the study were discussed along with suggestions for future research. Additionally, possible explanations for the findings were offered.

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