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ERIC Number: EJ848190
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1184-0412
Marital Stability and Marital Satisfaction in Families of Children with Disabilities: Chicken or Egg?
Sobsey, Dick
Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, v32 n1 p62-83 2004
Although much has been written suggesting that stress, grief, and other factors associated with parenting a child with disabilities results in high rates of marital discord, marital dissatisfaction, and divorce, this notion is poorly supported by research. Research demonstrates that parents of children with disabilities have marriages that exhibit the full range of function and dysfunction seen in the general population, most parents of children with disabilities have normal marriages, and the same things that predict healthy and unhealthy marriages in the general population also predict healthy and unhealthy marriages among parents of children with disabilities. A careful review of empirical studies of divorce rates of parents with and without disabilities suggests two reasonable possibilities: (1) There is no difference in divorce rates between parents of children with disabilities and parents of other children and most parents of children with disabilities do not divorce, or (2) there is a statistically significant but small increase in divorce rates among parents of children with disabilities. Even if the second possibility proves correct, it does not follow that increases in marital problems result from the children's disabilities. It is at least equally likely that family dysfunction increases risk for divorce and disabilities in children. While a great deal of research has attempted to demonstrate that children with disabilities are somehow harmful to their parents' marriages, very little attention has been paid to how bad marriages result in poor outcomes for children with disabilities. (Contains 1 footnote.)
J.P. Das Developmental Disabilities Centre. 6-102 Education North, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB T6G 2G5, Canada. Tel: 780-492-4505; Fax: 780-492-1318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A