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Resilience in families of children with developmental disabilities.

This study aimed to identify strengths and resources associated with the adaptation of families from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa following the diagnosis of a child with a developmental disability. Data was collected from parents (N = 40), as family representatives, using 7 self-report questionnaires and an open-ended question. The results showed positive correlations between an acceptance of the situation, positive patterns of family communication, commitment to the family unit, a positive attitude toward new experiences and challenges, and family adaptation, whereas incendiary communication and the age of the child were found to be inversely correlated with family adaptation. The quality of family patterns of communication was found to be the most significant predictor of family adaptation. The findings can be used to enrich existing family interventions to promote family resilience and affirm the reparative potential of families.

Keywords: family resilience, disability, adaptation, communication

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Parents of children with developmental disabilities show markedly higher levels of parenting and life stress than parents of typically developing children. The parenting stress associated with caring for a child with a disability is strongly associated with the nature of the disorder, associated behavioral problems, and the demands of attention due to daily care needs (Faust & Scior, 2008; Gupta, 2007).

Following the diagnosis of a developmental disability, parents and families face a period of adjusting and adapting to this diagnosis, as they have to reevaluate the expectations they had for their child (Abidin, cited in Gupta, 2007). They may experience feelings of grief and sorrow about the loss of their "normal" child, as well as feelings of uncertainty about the future (Taanila, Jarvelin, & Kokkonen, 1998) and their ability to cope with the demands the disability will place on the family (Ellis & Hirsch, 2000; Graungaard & Skov, 2007).

According to a report on the prevalence of disability in South Africa, published by Statistics South Africa (2005), 2.1% of children aged 0 to 9 years and 3% of children aged 10 to 19 years in the country live with a disability. Disability is defined as

a physical or mental handicap which has lasted for six months or more, or is expected to last at least six months, which prevents the person from carrying out daily activities independently, or from participating fully in educational, economic or social activities. (Statistics South Africa, 2007, p. 35)

The availability of resources for people with disabilities and their families is limited in South Africa. Families are mostly required to care for and support their child themselves and also to bear the cost of any professional services needed. Families from previously disadvantaged ethnic groups in particular have been found to have limited external resources and facilities available to them (Parekh & Jackson, 1997; Statistics South Africa, 2005).

Despite the difficulties associated with caring for a child with developmental disabilities, many families have been found to adapt successfully, and even thrive, following the birth or diagnosis of a child with a disability (Bayat, 2007; Hastings & Taunt, 2002). The study of family resilience aims to identify strengths and resources that help families to adapt in the face of adversity. By identifying strengths contributing to resilience in families facing adversity, interventions and support programs can be developed and implemented to strengthen these resources and thus help those families struggling to adapt (Ellis & Hirsch, 2000).

H. I. McCubbin and McCubbin (1988, p. 247) define family resilience as the "characteristics, dimensions, and properties which help families to be resistant to disruption in the face of change and adaptive in the face of crisis situations." Family resilience is not a static set of strengths that renders a family resilient, but rather an adaptive pathway, unique to each family and situation. As Walsh (1996) puts it, there is no "blueprint for any singular model of the 'resilient family'" (p. 269). A family's response to a stressor will depend on the unique interaction of risk and protective factors within the family unit, the sociocultural and developmental context, and the family's subjective perception or appraisal of the stressor. Walsh (2003) identified three domains of family functioning--namely, family belief systems, organizational patterns, and communication processes--which can facilitate the reduction of stress, foster growth, and empower families to overcome adversity, that is, to become resilient.

M. A. McCubbin and McCubbin (1996) proposed the resiliency model of family stress, adjustment, and adaptation, which provides a theoretical framework outlining the processes involved in a family's response to a stressor. A family faced with a stressor is required to adjust in order to incorporate the impact of this stressor and thereby to restore harmony and balance in all domains of functioning, that is, to achieve a state of well-being and equilibrium. Positive adjustment, or bonadjustment, is characterized by the restoration of harmony and balance, using existing resources, with only minimal changes to the established patterns of family functioning. Maladjustment, on the other hand, occurs when demands exceed capabilities, and the family cannot achieve harmony and stability. This state of maladjustment results in a family crisis, characterized by disharmony, imbalance, and disorganization, the resolution of which demands substantial changes in the family' s patterns of interaction and functioning (M. A. McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996). The initiation of these changes marks the beginning of the adaptation phase.

The success of the adaptation phase is determined by the interaction of the family's patterns of functioning (both newly instituted and established), the family's internal resources (e.g., cohesion, adaptability, communication, problem solving, family hardiness), the family's support network, the family's appraisal of the situation and of the stressor (which is shaped by the family schema or view of themselves in relation to the environment, and their sense of coherence, culture, and spirituality/religion), and the family's problem-solving and coping skills. Bonadaptation is achieved if new patterns of functioning are instituted and successfully integrated into the family's schema, resulting in harmony and balance in the family unit. However, if the family's attempts at change are unsuccessful, or if these changes cannot be accepted by family members and incorporated into the family schema, the process results in maladaptation and the family returns to the crisis situation, in which the cycle repeats itself (M. A. McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996). Resilient families are those that adapt well and are able to regain or surpass their precrisis level of functioning in the long run (De Haan, Hawley, & Deal, 2002). The outcome of the resilience process is visible in the level of family adaptation, and those strengths and resources that correlate with family adaptation are regarded as family resilience qualities.

Consequently, the aim of this study was to identify strengths and resources that are associated with the adaptation of families from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa, following the diagnosis of a child with a developmental disability.

Method

A mixed-method, cross-sectional survey research design was used. Mixed methods were used to collect data from a parent as a representative of the family. Qualitative data were obtained by responding to an open-ended question, and the quantitative data were collected with self-report questionnaires based on the resiliency model of family stress, adjustment, and adaptation (H. I. McCubbin, Thompson, & McCubben, 1996).

Participants

The population for this study consisted of colored families who have a child with a developmental disability and who live in the Boland region of the Western Cape, South Africa. The term "colored" is a contentious one, but it is still used in South Africa for people of mixed race. This classification is not based on a legal definition but on self-classification; in other words, people of mixed race tend to refer to themselves as "colored," and the term is thus adopted by the wider population of South Africa (Statistics South Africa, 2005). Large differences exist within the colored group with regard to socioeconomic status (from very wealthy to extremely poor), religion (Christianity and Muslim), and mother tongue (Afrikaans and English). Most colored families have adopted a Western lifestyle and contribute in various ways to the economic and social welfare of the diverse South African population (Rabie, 1996).

The participants for this study were recruited from a day school for children and adolescents, of which about 80% had been classified as having severe intellectual disabilities. The majority of learners were diagnosed with an unspecified learning disability, as there was no identifiable cause for their low functioning. Learners are referred to this school from mainstream schools if they have developmental delays that render them unable to follow the progress in a regular school. In order to qualify for this study, families were required to meet the following requirements: (a) two parents (not necessarily the biological parents of the child with a disability) were required to head the family, (b) the family should be from the previously disadvantaged ethnic group comprising colored people, and (c) the child with a disability was required to be enrolled at this particular school at the time of the study.

With the assistance of the school principal, a list of 80 eligible families was compiled randomly and they were invited to participate in the study. A letter to this effect was sent home with the child. The letter included information about the purpose and aims of the study, and outlined what participation in the study would involve. The parents were assured of the confidentiality and anonymity of their responses if they should choose to participate. The parents who returned the letter providing their contact details were subsequently contacted to arrange a time and place to meet in order to collect the data. All the participants asked the researcher to visit them at their homes, except for one, who wanted to meet at her place of work.

The letter was returned by 46 families (58%) who agreed to meet the researcher. Of the 46 collected data sets, six had to be excluded from analysis due to the family failing to meet one of the selection criteria or failing to complete all the questionnaires. The data from 40 participating families was thus used for analyses.

The majority of the participants in this study were female (n = 37; 93%). The participants were aged between 29 and 54 years, with a mean age of 39.8 (SD = 5.3). Their partners were aged between 30 and 61 years, with a mean age of 41.9 (SD = 6.4). The mean length of the couple's relationship was 14.55 years (SD = 7.7), ranging from 1 to 33 years. The majority of the children with disabilities were male (n = 28 [70%); 30% (n = 12) of the children were female. The children's ages ranged from 8 to 18 years, with a mean age of 12.8 (SD = 2.9). The mean number of years since diagnosis was 7.03 (SD = 4.2), with 2 years being the most recent and 17 years the longest. In terms of socioeconomic status, 15 families were of lower socioeconomic status, 17 of middle socioeconomic status, and eight of upper socioeconomic status.

Measures

A questionnaire was compiled to gather the following demographic data: the composition of the family, the marital status of the parents, the length of time since diagnosis, and the socioeconomic status of the family. In order to gather qualitative data about the strengths and resources that helped the families to adapt, the following open-ended question was posed to each participant: "Explain, in your own words, which strengths and resources were helpful in your family's adaptation following the diagnosis of your child." In addition, seven established, quantitative self-report questionnaires were used.

Family adaptation, the dependent variable in this study, was measured with the Family Attachment and Changeability Index (FACI8). FACI8 is an ethnically sensitive measure of family adaptation and functioning (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The FACI8 consists of two subscales. The Attachment subscale measures the strength of the family members' attachment to one another, whereas the Changeability subscale determines the degree to which family members are flexible in their relationships with each other. The total score of the FACI8 represents a measure of family adaptation. The internal reliability of this scale and the subscales (Cronbach's alpha) varies between .73 and .80 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). In this study, the internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of the attachment and changeability subscales was .75 and .58, respectively.

The following six questionnaires were used to measure potential resilience resources. The Family Hardiness Index (FHI) measures internal strength and durability in the family unit, as characterized by a sense of control over the outcome of stressful situations, a view of change as beneficial, and an active approach to overcoming adversity (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The FHI is divided into three subscales, namely, family Commitment, Challenge, and Control. The Commitment subscale measures the family's sense of dependability, their internal strengths, and their ability to work together. The Challenge subscale assesses the family's willingness to engage in new experiences, to use an active and innovative approach, and to learn from their experiences. The Control subscale measures the family's perception of being in control of their family life, as opposed to being shaped by outside events and circumstances. The overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of this scale is .82 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). In this study, the FHI obtained an overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .59, with an internal reliability of .62 for the Commitment subscale, .58 for the Challenge subscale, and .74 for the Control subscale.

The Social Support Index (SSI) aims to determine the extent to which the family is integrated into the community it lives in and the level of support provided by this community (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The SSI has an internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .82 and a test-retest reliability of .83 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The SSI obtained an internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .76 in this study.

The Relative and Friend Support Index (RFS) measures the extent to which family members use the support of friends and family as a coping strategy in the face of stressors (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The RFS has an internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .82. The internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of the RFS in this study was .80.

The Family Crisis-Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES) measures the problem-solving and coping behaviors employed by a family in times of adversity (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The F-COPES consists of five subscales and examines the influence of five different coping strategies in dealing with stressors. In this study, the F-COPES obtained an internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .63 on the Reframing subscale, .61 on the Passive Appraisal subscale, .76 on the Social Support subscale, .52 on the Religion and Spirituality subscale, and .60 on the Mobilization subscale. The scale has an overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .77 and a test-retest reliability of .71 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996).

The Family Time and Routine Index (FTRI) determines which routines and activities the family engages in and what value they attribute to these (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The FTRI includes the following subscales: Parent-Child togetherness, Couple Togetherness, Child Routines, Meals Together, Family Time, Family Chores Routines, Relatives Connection, and Family Management. In addition, the FTRI yields a total score, indicating the extent to which families engage in family time and routines, and a total importance score, indicating the importance attributed to these routines. The FTRI has an overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .88 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). In this study, the FTRI obtained an internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .85 on the total Family Routines scale and .88 on the total Importance scale.

The Family Problem-Solving and Communication Scale (FPSC) evaluates the positive and negative patterns of family communication that influence problem solving and coping (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). The scale is divided into two subscales, measuring incendiary and affirming communication, respectively. Incendiary communication is provocative and tends to intensify a situation, whereas affirming communication is supportive and serves to calm a situation. The FPSC has an overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) of .88. The Incendiary Communication subscale has an internal reliability of .78, and the Affirming Communication subscale has an internal reliability of .86 (H. I. McCubbin et al., 1996). In this study, the overall internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha) obtained was .79, and the internal reliability for the Incendiary Communication and Affirming Communication subscales was .65 and .90, respectively.

Procedure

Upon meeting with the researcher, the participants were given the opportunity to ask any questions they might still have about the study. They were assured that they could withdraw from the study at any point during the data collection procedure if they felt uncomfortable with the topics under discussion. It was reiterated that withdrawal from the study would not have any negative repercussions for themselves or their children. All the participants were assured of confidentiality and anonymity, as far as this was practicable. Absolute anonymity was not possible in this study, as the data were collected during a face-to-face meeting between the researcher and the participants. In an effort to maintain anonymity and confidentiality, no information that would later serve to identify the respondent was recorded.

The biographical questionnaire was administered first, followed by the open-ended question and the completion of the self-report questionnaires. The questionnaires were originally designed to be completed by the participants themselves. The majority of the participants in this study preferred the questions to be read out to them and to answer verbally. The data collection lasted between 1 and 2 hr, with the majority taking approximately 1.5 hr.

The qualitative data was analyzed through thematic content analysis (White & Marsh, 2006). Written responses were read and initial codes were assigned to the data according to identified themes. Focus was placed on the initially coded themes to determine whether categories should be added or collapsed. Previous themes were again explored to identify themes and contrasts in specific areas, and frequencies were then identified. The trustworthiness of the data was assured through triangulation. Quantitative results were used to verify the qualitative results, and it was ensured that the results were congruent with the findings of previous research.

Statistica (StatSoft, Inc., 2005) was used to analyze the quantitative data by means of Spearman correlations and multiple regression analysis. A best-subsets regression was performed, with regression models being constructed for all combinations of predictor variables. From this, the best model was selected by inspecting the R-squared value together with the number of predictors included. Thus, if two competing models had similar R-squared values, the model with the least number of predictors was selected. The problem of multicollinearity was addressed by considering only models in which predictors had intercorrelations smaller than 0.7.

Results

The Pearson product-moment correlations calculated revealed eight statistically significant relationships between potential resilience variables and family adaptation. A summary of the significant correlation coefficients is shown in Table 1.

The correlation between age of the child with a disability and family adaptation was initially not statistically significant due to an outlier value. The correlation was recalculated excluding the outlier value, which yielded a statistically significant correlation.

As is evident from Table 1, significant correlations were found between family adaptation and age of the child with a disability, three measures of family hardiness, three measures of family communication, and passive appraisal as a coping style. All but two of these correlations (age of the child and incendiary communication) were positive.

A best-subset regression analysis was done to identify the combination of best predictors of family adaptation. These findings are summarized in Table 2.

According to Table 2, the importance of family time and routines to the family (FTRI Importance), the problem-solving and coping strategies of reframing the situation, passive appraisal and the search for and utilization of spiritual support (measured by the relevant subscales of F-COPES), and the quality of family communication (FPSC Total score) were all included in the best-subset of predictors of family adaptation. Family communication was found to be the most significant contributor to the variation in family adaptation. Together, these variables account for 48% ([R.sup.2] = 0.48) of the variation in the FACI8 scores obtained in this study.

The qualitative responses to the open-ended question are summarized in Table 3, showing the strengths and resources most frequently mentioned by the participants.

As can be seen in Table 3, the factors most often reported by the participants as contributing to family adaptation were acceptance and love of the child (68% and 58%, respectively), formal and friend support (45% and 43%, respectively), and family communication (40%).

Discussion

The aim of this study was to identify strengths and resources associated with the adaptation of families following the diagnosis of a child with a developmental disability. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative results, various resilience factors were identified.

A significant negative correlation was found between the age of the child with a developmental disability and family adaptation (as measured by the FACI8). A possible explanation for this is given by Faust and Scior (2008), who argued that an increasing awareness of being different from their peers can lead to an increase in behavior problems, depression, and anxiety, which, in turn, increases the care strain on the family. As the growing child demands more time, energy, and resources, finding balance and harmony in the family may become more difficult. Furthermore, all family members and the family as a unit are growing in complexity and may increasingly demand family resources, which may be evident in the lower levels of family adaptation.

According to both Walsh (2003) and M. A. McCubbin and McCubbin (1996), the appraisal or meaning-making process is central to family adaptation, as it influences the family's perception of and subsequent response to the stressor. This theory seems to be borne out by the results of this study. The best-subset regression analysis conducted in this study revealed that meaning-making processes contributed significantly to family adaptation in this sample. More specifically, this analysis showed that the coping strategies of reframing and passive appraisal were strong predictors of family adaptation scores, with the latter making the more significant contribution (see Table 2). These results indicate that those families who are able to make meaning of and accept their situation are better able to adapt than those who are not able to do so, and that spiritual resources are helpful in this process. This observation is partly confirmed by the results of the Pearson product-moment correlations (see Table 1). Although the relationship between the coping strategies of reframing and seeking spiritual support and family adaptation was not significant, a significant positive correlation was found between the coping strategy of passive appraisal and family adaptation.

These results would seem to indicate that the families participating in this study relied less on reframing their situation or trying to understand the reasons for the disability of their child, but rather took the position that there was nothing they could do to change the situation and thus had to accept it and make the most of it. These findings were also reflected in the responses given by the participants in response to the open-ended question (see Table 3). Of the participants, 68% stated that there was nothing they could do about the disability of their child and that they therefore just had to accept it, and 58% of the participants stated that it was their child and they had to love him/her regardless of the associated difficulties.

According to Bayat (2007), family hardiness, or positive perceptions about a situation, serves as a buffer for the stresses associated with caring for a child with disabilities, as families can still hold on to the belief that, despite the difficulties they are facing, the situation can be mastered and will ultimately serve to strengthen the family unit. In this study, the internal strength and durability of the family unit (measured by the FHI) was found to have a significant positive relationship with family adaptation (as measured by the FACI8). A significant positive correlation was also found between family adaptation and the scores obtained on the Commitment and Challenge subscales of the FHI (see Table 1). These findings suggest that those families in which family members feel they can depend on each other and work together to overcome a period of adversity adapt better than those families scoring low on the Commitment subscale. The positive correlation between scores on the Challenge subscale and family adaptation further indicates that those families who perceive change as an opportunity for growth, and who are willing to engage in new experiences, adapt better than those who do not. These findings mirror those reported by Bayat (2007) and Retzlaff (2007), who found that families who were able to accept the diagnosis of disability, and work together to overcome the associated hardships and maintain the integrity of the family unit, adapted better.

Hutchinson, Afifi, and Krause (2007) and Taanila, Syrjala, Kokkonen, and Jarvelin (2002) reported that family hardiness is facilitated by family time and routines, as these factors provide family members with an opportunity to spend time together and discuss their situation, and provide a sense of stability and continuity in times of adversity. In this study, the importance attributed by the family to family time and routines (as measured by the FFRI, Importance subscale) was found in the multiple regression analysis to be a significant predictor of family adaptation (see Table 2). This finding is confirmed in the responses given to the open-ended question (see Table 3), in which 28% reported that they had changed their routines to integrate the child into the family.

According to the family resilience framework (Walsh, 2003), communication is a key resilience resource, as it facilitates the meaning-making process and fosters collaborative problem solving. It was also identified by M. A. McCubbin and McCubbin (1996) as a resistance resource employed by families to manage the demands they are facing. In this study, a significant positive correlation was found between the quality of family communication and family adaptation. A further significant positive correlation was found between affirming patterns of communication and family adaptation, with a significant negative correlation found between incendiary communication and family adaptation (see Table 1). These findings suggest that those families who communicate openly and honestly about their situation, with a focus on supporting individual members and calming the situation, adapt more successfully than those who do not.

These results are further supported by the findings obtained from the multiple regression analysis (see Table 2). The quality of family patterns of communication (as indicated by the FPSC Total score) was found to be the most significant predictor of family adaptation. A pattern of communication that emphasizes and encourages open communication allows family members to reach a shared understanding of their situation and of the changes necessary to adapt successfully. Vandsburger, Harrigan, and Biggerstaff (2008) found that open communication, and the resulting mutual support and feelings of closeness, were found to play a significant role in family adaptation in times of adversity, a finding supported by the results of this study. The qualitative results further underline the importance of family communication in the coping and adaptation process (see Table 3).

In this study, the availability of social support did not seem to be associated with the adaptation of the participating families. Heiman and Berger (2008) found that families of children with disabilities frequently reported a decrease in social support structures. It is possible that the families participating in this study also had limited social support available and thus had to depend on their own family to cope independently. This lack of social support could be due to societal misconceptions and prejudice about disability, or might be a result of the excessive demands already faced by other families in the community, leaving them unable to offer support to their peers (Philpott, cited in Parekh & Jackson, 1997). Contrary to the not-significant relationship between family adaptation and social support (see Table 1), in response to the open-ended question, a large percentage of families reported that they depended on social support (see Table 3). More specifically, 43% of the families reported that they relied on support from friends and relatives, and 45% mentioned the importance of support from doctors, psychologists, and the school. Although only a marginal difference in this study, Gatford (2001) found that those families who did not have an adequate social support network, due to social misconceptions, relied more on formal support to help them to cope.

Conclusions

The findings of this study indicate that an acceptance of the situation, positive patterns of communication, commitment to the family unit, and a positive attitude toward new experiences and challenges are positively correlated with family adaptation, whereas incendiary communication and the age of the child were found to be inversely correlated with family adaptation. The findings suggest some possible avenues of intervention to support the adaptation of families who have a child with a developmental disability. First, more attention and support need to be offered to families of older children, as they, in particular, need to develop positive communication patterns, a commitment toward unity in the family, and a positive attitude toward the challenges they will face as their child grows older. Second, families can be supported in their adaptation to their child's diagnosis by being helped to set realistic goals for the family that can fulfill the family's needs and aspirations. This may be achieved by supplying relevant and needed information and facilitating discussions with professionals and other families in comparable circumstances. Finally, these findings suggest that families can be supported in their adaptation following the diagnosis of a child with a disability by implementing programs designed to enhance an identified family resilience quality, for example, positive communication within the family, which, in turn, would enable the family members to work together and support each other more effectively.

This study has limitations. The small sample from a relatively low response rate (50%) means that it is likely to be poorly representative of the study population. Care should be taken when generalizing findings to other populations. Future studies of resilience in families of children with disabilities would benefit from a longitudinal research design, allowing a comparison of adaptation and coping before and after the birth or diagnosis of the child with developmental disabilities. In addition, it would be beneficial to evaluate the experiences and perceptions of more than one family member.

DOI: 10.1037/a0035059

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Received September 4, 2012

Revision received August 8, 2013

Accepted October 10, 2013.

Abraham P. Greeff, PhD, and Claudia Nolting, MA

University of Stellenbosch

Abraham P. Greeff, PhD, and Claudia Nolting, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Abraham P. Greeff, Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa. E-mail: apg@sun.ac.za
Table 1
Summary of the Significant Correlations Found Between the Independent
Variables and the Level of Family Adaptation As Measured by the FACI8
(N = 40)

Variable                                                      r value

Age of child (a)                                              -0.42
Family Problem Solving and Communication Scale (FPSC)          0.54
  Affirming, or supportive, communication                      0.53
  Incendiary, or provocative, communication                   -0.46
Family Hardiness Index (FHI)                                   0.51
  Commitment (internal strength, ability to work together)     0.43
  Challenge (engage in and learn from new experiences)         0.65
Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES)
  Passive Appraisal (accept the situation as it is)            0.34

Variable                                                      p value

Age of child (a)                                               0.008
Family Problem Solving and Communication Scale (FPSC)          <.01
  Affirming, or supportive, communication                      <.01
  Incendiary, or provocative, communication                    <.01
Family Hardiness Index (FHI)                                   <.01
  Commitment (internal strength, ability to work together)     <.01
  Challenge (engage in and learn from new experiences)         <.01
Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES)
  Passive Appraisal (accept the situation as it is)            0.03

Note. FAC18 = Family Attachment and Changeability Index.
(a) n=39.

Table 2
Summary of Results of Best-Subset Regression Analyses (N = 40)

Variable                                    B      t(34)    p value

Importance of family routines (FTRI)      -0.09    -1.01      0.32
Reframing a crisis (F-COPES subscale)      0.42     2.06      0.05
Seeking spiritual support (F-COPES         0.38     0.96      0.34
  subscale)
Passive appraisal of a crisis (F-COPES     0.42     2.20      0.03
  subscale)
Quality of family communication (FPSC)     0.47     4.01      0.01

Table 3
Summary of Resilience Factors Most Frequently Mentioned by the
Participants (N = 40)

Categories and themes                                 Frequency     %

Make meaning of adversity
  Belief that there is a reason for having a child
    with a disability (personal growth, uniting           10       25
    the family)
  Attitude of acceptance, realizing that there is
    nothing that can be done to change the                27       68
    situation and it has to be accepted
  Regardless of any associated difficulties, he/she       23       58
    is our child and we have to love him/her
Spirituality and religion
  Belief that God gives the family and its members
    the strength needed to cope with the                  10       25
    difficulties associated with a child with
    a disability
Flexibility
  Belief that the integration of the child into
    family life is important. Like any other member       11       28
    of the family, the child performs chores and
    contributes
Social and economic resources
  Belief that support from friends is important;
    having someone to talk to, who can also               17       43
    sometimes watch the children
  Support from doctors, psychologists and the
    school is important for family adaptation,            18       45
    provides information, relieves the care burden
    and gives respite
Family communication
  It is important to talk to each other about
    feelings, especially when feeling sad or if           16       40
    someone does something you do not like
  Belief that it helps if family members make
    decisions together, then everyone agrees about        12       30
    what is decided and knows what to do
Connectedness and mutual support
  All members of the family contribute to household
    chores and child care, the burden of care is          12       30
    shared
Focus on nurturing the child (a)
  Important to spend a lot of time with the child,
    to support his/her development and show him/her       14       35
    that we love him/her, this also helps to avoid
    bad behavior
Joy brought by the child (a)
  He/she brings joy to the family, he/she is such
    a special person, is always happy and laughs          10       25
    at little things, he/she makes us laugh too

(a) Categories identified during the coding process.
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Author:Greeff, Abraham P.; Nolting, Claudia
Publication:Families, Systems & Health
Article Type:Author abstract
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Dec 1, 2013
Words:6482
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