Differences in coping between parents of mentally handicapped children and parents of non handicapped children
Cynthia Chatham, DSN, RN
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The purpose of this study was to ascertain if there was a difference in perceived effectiveness of coping behaviors between mothers and fathers of a mentally handicapped child and mothers and fathers of a non handicapped child. The conceptual framework was derived from the work of Lazarus (1961) and Pearl in and Schooler (1978). Utilizing a descriptive design, 64 parents (28 parents of a mentally handicapped child and 36 parents of a non handicapped child) were surveyed using the Family Coping Inventory (FCI). Twenty-eight parents of a mentally handicapped child completed an additional instrument, the Coping Health Inventory for Parents (CHIP). Descriptive statistics and independent samples t-tests revealed that there was a significant difference in perceived usefulness of coping behaviors of seeking social support and self-development (£ = .004) and being religious, thankful, and content (£ = .04) between parents of a mentally handicapped child and parents of a nonhandicapped child. There were no significant differences in perceived usefulness of coping behaviors of maintaining family integrity and being responsible. A significant difference between mothers in the effective use of seeking social support and self-development behaviors was found. A significant correlation between medical support and occupation was found on the CHIP. On the patterns of the FCI, the following significant correlations were revealed: (a) parent age and seeking social support and self-development; (b) parent age and being religious, thankful, and content; (c) marital status and being responsible; (d) marital status and maintaining family integrity; (e) child status and seeking social support and self-development; and (f) child status and being religious, thankful, and content. Recommendations include: (a) research into the reasons for the lack of availability of fathers for research and participation in early intervention programs, (b) research into the reasons why mothers of the mentally handicapped child are unemployed, (c) exploration of nursing interventions to assist parents in developing effective coping strategies, (d) investigation into the relationship between parent age and coping behaviors, (e) investigation into the coping behaviors that single parents of a mentally handicapped child identify as effective, and (f) replication of this study with an adequate sample of fathers.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 8823588; ProQuest document ID: 303678642. The author still retains copyright.
This item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
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Mentally Handicapped Children;
Intellectual Disability--Psychosocial Factors;
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