An investigation into social support networks of parents of children with intellectual disability in Bangladesh

Md. Aminul Islam


Drawing upon the theories of social cognition, social networks and social capital, this article investigates the structure and function of social support networks of parent of children with intellectual disability in Bangladesh, a developing country in South Asia.  The primary data for the study were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. Snowball sampling method was used to reach to participants. It also used psychometric tools such as the Lubben Social Network Scale – Revised (LSNS-R) and the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors (ISSB) to measure the social network and support among the participants. The results show that parents of children with intellectual disability have smaller social network than parents of children without intellectual disabilities. The parents of intellectual disability have relatively a smaller number of close friends and relatives for seeking help, sharing private matters and consulting while making any important decisions. Multiple factors influence their possibility of getting social support. The factors include the number of relatives who see or hear at least once a month; number of relatives to share private matters; availability of relatives for making a decision; number of close friends and the number of close friends who live within five miles of their residence. This article concludes that the social network interventions can be a mechanism for individualized supports and services for the parents.


Social Network; Social Support; Intellectual Disability; Bangladesh.

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