In this study the impact of socio economic factors in raising a child with mental disability
was discussed and explored. There is limited research done on this topic in the world
and in South Africa.
Studies show that there is a direct link between poverty and mental disability. There are
multiple factors that have an influence on a family that have a child that suffers from
mental disability. These factors include stress and unresolved emotions regarding the
child that suffers from mental disability, financial burdens, dealing with the child’s
problematic behaviour and the social stigma associated with disabilities. It was found
that there is little support available for families that have to deal with all these factors.
Different aspects of mental disability have been discussed in this study in order to
create a better understanding of mentally disability and to provide all the necessary
information surrounding mental disability. Aspects that were discussed are: a) What is
mental disability, b) Levels of mental disability, c) The link between poverty and mental
disability, d) Socio-economic and psychosocial factors that have an impact on the
family, e) Causes of mental disability, f) Role of the social worker, and g) Services
provided to families. These aspects have been discussed through literature and in the
empirical study. Findings from this study show that families that have a child with mental disability also
have to contend with a lot of socio-economic factors that play a role in the family.
Having a child with a mental disability in the house has an influence on all members of
the family. Children with a mental disability have serious emotional and behavioural
problems. Parents of mentally challenged children commonly experience different
emotions. Raising a child with a mental disability may be more expensive than raising a
It was thus concluded that there is a need to explore the impact of socio-economic
factors in raising a child with a mental disability.