Perceived stressors and coping strategies of parents who have children with developmental disabilities: A comparison of mothers with fathers

  • Doris J. Heaman
    Address reprint requests to Doris J. Heaman, DSN, RN, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, College of Nursing, Huntsville, AL 35899.
    College of Nursing, The University of Alabama in Huntsville USA.
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      The purposes of this study were to describe perceived stressors and coping strategies of parents who have children with developmental disabilities and to examine similarities and differences of mothers and fathers in their perceptions of stressors and coping. A sample of 203 parents of children with developmentally disabilities, ages two through five years, participated in the study. Hymovich's Parent Perception Inventory: Concerns (
      • Hymovich D.P.
      ) and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (
      • Folkman S.
      • Lazarus R.S.
      ) were used for data collection. Stressors and coping strategies were identified. The stressor reported by the largest number of both mothers and fathers was concern about the child's future. There were fewer differences between mothers and fathers in reporting of stressors than in reporting coping strategies. The importance of recognizing parental individuality in family coping is addressed within the context of implications for nursing practice and research.
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