Medicine, Mind and Adolescence 1996, XI, 2

The development of social skills in mentally retarded subjects

Giorgio Moretti, Massimo Molteni & Vincenzo De Bustis Ficarola

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The literature relating to the reactions of the family with regard to the birth, the care and rearing of mentally retarded children illustrates how sentiments and emotions come into play that have an important role in the capacity of both family and child to adapt to the environment by the development of behaviour patterns that are dependent on the demands of this environment.

We selected 100 subjects aged 10 to 20 years with mental retardation (intelligence quotient [IQ] 40–80) as shown by the dual diagnosis method, and investigated their development of social skills (social quotient, SQ) using the Vineland Social Maturity Scale, family variables using Olson’s FACES III and the Family Environment Scale, and socio-economic variables. SQ correlated with IQ and with paternal involvement. The families of the mentally retarded subjects were judged non-pathological. The literature on the topic is discussed.

(Paper presented at the Second International Congress of Adolescentology Milan ’94 : Adolescence and Family, Milan, Italy, November 18-19, 1994).

Key Words: mental retardation, dual diagnosis, developmental psychology, family support, physical and psychological disorders.

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