The contribution of marital quality to the well-being of parents of children with developmental disabilities

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (Impact Factor: 2.41). 01/2007; 50(Pt 12):883-93. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00906.x
Source: PubMed


This study examines the contribution of the marital relationship to the well-being of both mothers and fathers of children with developmental disabilities. Parent well-being is conceptualized in terms of mental health, parenting stress and parenting efficacy.
These analyses are based on data from 67 families participating in the Early Intervention Collaborative Study, an ongoing longitudinal investigation of the development of children with disabilities and the adaptation of their families. Multidimensional assessment techniques were used to collect data from married mothers and fathers and their child with a disability. Mother and father data were analysed separately using parallel hierarchical regression models.
For both mothers and fathers, greater marital quality predicted lower parenting stress and fewer depressive symptoms above and beyond socio-economic status, child characteristics and social support. In relation to parenting efficacy, marital quality added significant unique variance for mothers but not for fathers. For fathers, greater social support predicted increased parenting efficacy. Child behaviour was also a powerful predictor of parental well-being for both mothers and fathers.
The findings support the importance of the marital relationship to parental well-being and illustrate the value of including fathers in studies of children with developmental disabilities.

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Available from: Penny Hauser-Cram, Jan 13, 2014
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    • "There are established research literatures using both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the relationships between parents and their child with DD (Kearney & Griffin 2001; Hastings 2002), between children with DD or ASD and their siblings (Rossiter & Sharpe 2001; Benson & Karlof 2008; Petalas et al. 2009), and between mothers and fathers in terms of concepts such as marital satisfaction (Kersh et al. 2006; Wieland & Baker 2010). The emotional dimensions of intra-family relationships have been found to be crucial for typical child development (Erel & Burman 1995; Weich et al. 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Expressed emotion (EE) is a construct used to measure the emotional climate within families. EE is of interest to researchers in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because of its putative implications for child development. The aim was to explore whether maternal EE differs towards a child with ASD and a non-disabled sibling.Methods We adopted a within-family design with 143 mothers of children with ASD and a non-disabled sibling. EE was measured using the Five-Minute Speech Sample.ResultsWilcoxon signed-rank tests were utilised. Mothers were coded as significantly more critical and less warm towards their child with ASD than towards the sibling. There were no significant differences in maternal emotional overinvolvement or overall EE towards the child with ASD and a sibling.Conclusions The data support the results of previous research suggesting that EE is linked to the relationship a mother has with individual children, rather than being evidence of the character disposition of mothers. More research is needed to understand the emotional dimensions of parent–child relationships in families with children with ASD.
    Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 06/2015; 59(6). DOI:10.1111/jir.12178 · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    • "Turnbull et al (1993, cited by Kersh et al., 2006) and Kersh et al. (2006) in their analysis did not observe any differences in the level of parental stress or manifest symptoms of depression among mothers and fathers of disabled children in comparison to the general population, while Donovan (1988, cited by Kersh et al., 2006) reported no differences in respect to marital satisfaction between families with disabled children and those with healthy children. Yet other research reports (Soneman & Gavidia-Payne, 2006, cited by Kersh, 2006) suggest that the mothers and fathers of children with various kinds of disability experience from average to above average satisfaction from their marriages, and other researchers have reported no association between the severity of the child's disability and marital adaptation. One possible explanation of the average quality of life score in comparison to the general population for these parents of a child with RSTS may be their family resources. "
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of our study was to examine the functioning of a family with a child who has Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome (RSTS) in respect to the quality of life (QOL) of the child's parents. We used measures associated with the parents' QOL, an evaluation of the child's psychomotor development and temperament, sociodemographic variables, and psychological variables, such as parental attitudes and coping styles. We used our own clinical history questionnaire; participatory observation; analysis of medical documentation; the Self-Anchoring Ladder; the Satisfaction with Life Scale; the Good Marriage Questionnaire; the Parental Attitudes Scale; the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations; the Emotionality, Activity, and Shyness temperament questionnaire; and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development – Third Edition. The child's disability affects the parents' QOL negatively. In this case, the child's mother subjectively evaluates marital functioning at a lower level than does the father. Parental attitudes and coping styles differ in the two parents: the mother shows emotional/avoidance behavior, while the father is more task-oriented. The mother's attitude towards the child is more negative, especially in terms of non-acceptance, rejection , denial of autonomy, and inconsistency. Both parents display an adequate level of care and concern. The parents of an RSTS child require particular support, which should encompass the entire family system. This support should be predicated on an analysis of the family's available resources, as well as the barriers and difficulties that prevent them from fulfilling their roles.
    Acta Neuropsychologica 01/2013; 11(1):53-76.
    • "Our findings also suggest that relationship satisfaction may buffer, at least to some extent, the impact of parenting stress on maternal depression. This replicates the findings of Kersh et al. (2006) using a preschool-aged sample of children with ASD, suggesting that such protective effects can be found relatively soon after diagnosis. It is important to note several methodological limitations of the current study. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mothers of children with autism report higher levels of depression than mothers of children with other developmental disabilities. We explored the relations between child characteristics of diagnostic severity and problem behaviors, parenting stress, relationship quality, and depressive symptoms in 70 mothers of young children with autism. We hypothesized that relationship quality and parenting stress would relate to maternal depression beyond contributions of child characteristics. Multiple regression analysis revealed a main effect of parenting stress above and beyond child problem behaviors and autism severity. A significant interaction emerged, with relationship quality buffering the effect of parenting stress on depression. Results suggest that the relation between child problem behaviors and maternal depression should be considered in conjunction with other measures of marriage and family stress. Relationship quality and parenting stress may also represent important factors to be explicitly considered within intervention paradigms for young children with autism spectrum disorders.
    Autism 09/2012; 18(2). DOI:10.1177/1362361312458039 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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