ERIC Number: ED310601
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
How Families Cope Successfully with a Handicapped Child: A Qualitative Study.
Seven functional families with handicapped children were studied using a case study approach. Through the qualitative paradigm, the development of successful coping mechanisms was examined. The parents completed an instrument called "CHIP, Coping Health Inventory for Parents," and all family members were interviewed. Subject families were recommended by professionals as coping successfully and also as containing at least one non-handicapped child. Disabilities represented were: deaf blindness, deafness, chronic illness, autism, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, and emotional disturbance with learning disability. From the results of the case studies it was possible to draw three generalizations: first, these families developed a broad repertoire of coping mechanisms; second, the parents tended to have convergent accounts of how they coped; and third, the siblings interviewed all reported being able to freely question and discuss issues concerning the handicapped sibling. The paper proposes further investigation of three hypotheses: (1) there is a strong positive correlation between marital adjustment and satisfaction and ability to cope with a handicapped child; (2) there is a strong positive correlation between participation in a parent support group and ability to cope with a handicapped child and marital satisfaction; and (3) there is a strong positive correlation between parental ability to cope successfully and the psychological adjustment of their non-handicapped children. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Researchers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 3-7, 1989).