The research will evaluate reciprocal influences between mentally retarded children and their families. It will include a 5-year follow-up (Wave 3) of a sample of 150 families of school-age children (6-18 years old) with mild and moderate mental retardation, and a matched sample of 50 comparison families with typically developing children of the same age. The study will focus on family interactions as proximal and potentially modifiable predictors of adjustment for all family members, and thus will suggest avenues for interventions to prevent deterioration in social and cognitive adjustment for mentally retarded children, and to avoid distress and disruption for the other family members. All family members are included in the research. It will test the hypothesis that characteristics of the child, marital quality, family stress and coping resources each influence the quality of supportive, aversive, and behavior-management interactions between the mentally retarded child and other family members. In turn, interactions should affect the child's future psychosocial adjustment and cognitive and social development, and the future well-being of the family members. This third assessment also will explicate cognitive factors for the parents which can either foster positive adaptation or lead to conflict, hostility, and aversive interactions with the child. Additionally, at Time 3 the families of mentally retarded children will be contrasted with two new comparison groups, families with children with a chronic illness or physical handicap (n=60), and families of behavior disordered children (n=60). These additional comparisons will control for the effects of stress associated with coping with a chronic handicap, physical disabilities, and child behavior problems on family adaptation and subsequent child functioning, and thus will identify unique processes by which mentally retarded children and their families influence each other.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Modified Research Career Development Award (K04)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Chapel Hill
United States
Zip Code
Floyd, Frank J; Costigan, Catherine L; Richardson, Shana S (2016) Sibling Relationships in Adolescence and Early Adulthood With People Who Have Intellectual Disability. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 121:383-97
Floyd, Frank J; Purcell, Susan E; Richardson, Shana S et al. (2009) Sibling relationship quality and social functioning of children and adolescents with intellectual disability. Am J Intellect Dev Disabil 114:110-27
Floyd, Frank J; Cranford, James A; Daugherty, Michelle Klotz et al. (2006) Marital interaction in alcoholic and nonalcoholic couples: alcoholic subtype variations and wives' alcoholism status. J Abnorm Psychol 115:121-30
Chambless, Dianne L; Fauerbach, James A; Floyd, Frank J et al. (2002) Marital interaction of agoraphobic women: a controlled, behavioral observation study. J Abnorm Psychol 111:502-12
Floyd, F J; Gilliom, L A; Costigan, C L (1998) Marriage and the parenting alliance: longitudinal prediction of change in parenting perceptions and behaviors. Child Dev 69:1461-79
Glidden, L M; Floyd, F J (1997) Disaggregating parental depression and family stress in assessing families of children with developmental disabilities: a multisample analysis. Am J Ment Retard 102:250-66
Floyd, F J; Costigan, C L; Phillippe, K A (1997) Developmental change and consistency in parental interactions with school-age children who have mental retardation. Am J Ment Retard 101:579-94