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Personality traits of children with intellectual disability

Blanka Colnerič (2014) Personality traits of children with intellectual disability. Diploma thesis.

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    Intellectual disability (ID) is characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, identified prior to the age of 18. In the present study we conducted personal interviews with parents to investigate personality traits of children with ID within the framework of the Five-Factor Model (FFM). We used two approaches (free descriptions and psychological questionnaire) and examined personality from two different perspectives (both parents). Although personality of normative children has been a subject of research over the last decades, it is understudied in children with ID. Personality traits may present some of the strengths in children with ID, have relatively high predictive value for important developmental outcomes, and are therefore recommended to be assessed. We explored personality traits with a sample of 100 children with ID from different regions of Slovenia, who were not institutionalized. The results were compared with those obtained with the sample of 111 normative children. The FFM was found useful in examining the personality of children with ID. A majority (70%) of the parental free descriptions of children with ID were coded in FFM categories, whereas responses outside these categories mainly referred to a child´s disability. The proportions of descriptions in the FFM categories for children with ID were significantly lower relative to their normative peers. In children with ID the desired traits (openness, conscientiousness and extraversion) and disagreeableness were rated lower in comparison to normative children. In the context of etiological approach, we mainly compared characteristics of children with Down syndrome (DS) and children with autism. For the two groups and also for a group of physically disabled children with ID, we developed profiles of parent-perceived expression of personality traits in comparison to other children with ID. Children with DS were more frequently described as more sociable and agreeable (amiable), and rated higher on sociability, conscientiousness and openness to experience when assessed with a questionnaire. The differential expression of traits revealed in this study refers to higher levels of positive emotions, consideration and organization. Children with autism are frequently described and rated as high in activity, their parents reported on lower levels of child conscientiousness, sociability and openness to experience in comparison to other children with ID. Expected frequencies of descriptions of children with autism as less agreeable and less emotionally stable were not empirically supported. Children with physical impairment and associated ID were rated lower on activity relative to other children with ID. The differences between etiological groups of children with ID were mainly significant for three FFM dimensions (extraversion, openness and conscientiousness) and their mid-level traits but not for disagreeableness and neuroticism. We discuss possible reasons for the observed differences, compare data with previous findings on the personality of the specific etiological groups of children with ID, and evaluate the work in terms of practical implications. Alongside with study limitations we offer suggestions for further research, since studies on personality of children with ID is scarce, especially in Slovenia.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: children with intellectual disability, personality traits, free descriptions, Big Five, etiological approach
    Number of Pages: 93
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Janez JermanMentor
    red. prof. dr. Maja ZupančičComentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10043977)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2119
    Date Deposited: 12 May 2014 11:45
    Last Modified: 12 Nov 2015 16:47
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2119

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