Current Developmental Disorders Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 157–164 | Cite as

Family Wellness in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: a Balanced Approach

  • Jonathan A. WeissEmail author
  • Diana Tajik-Parvinchi
  • Andrea L. Maughan
  • Johanna Lake
Intellectual Disability (Y Lunsky, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Intellectual Disability


Purpose of Review

The current review explores the state of the literature on wellness among families living with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD).

Recent Findings

Though wellness is often defined as a process of striving for and achieving positive health, quality of life and subjective wellbeing, much of the literature on wellness in IDD has centred on struggle and negative outcomes, including experiences of stress, crisis, and mental health problems. More recent work reveals that families living with IDD are not simply fraught with negativity, and that positive experiences, such as hope, optimism, and cohesiveness, are important aspects of wellness.


Many promising interventions have emerged to support the mental health of families, ultimately approaching wellness in a manner that contains both adaptive and maladaptive processes and outcomes. The current review provides an overview of this literature, describes evidence-based interventions in this context, and highlights areas for future research.


Intellectual disability Autism Developmental disability Family Wellness Mental health 



Intellectual and developmental disabilities


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Dr. Jonathan Weiss was supported by the Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance, Health Canada, Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet), and the Sinneave Family Foundation. Additional funds from York University.

Conflict of Interest

Diana Tajik-Parvinchi, Andrea Maughan, and Johanna Lake declare no conflict of interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan A. Weiss
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diana Tajik-Parvinchi
    • 1
  • Andrea L. Maughan
    • 1
  • Johanna Lake
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Adult Neurodevelopmental ServicesCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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