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Family Support: How Does Perceived Emotional and Instrumental Support for Latino Families with Children with Disabilities Relate to Caregiver and Family Well-being?


Research shows that mothers who raise a child with a severe intellectual disability may experience more stress than mothers who care for typically developing children, or other caregivers who care for children with less severe intellectual disabilities (Olsson & Hwang, 2001, 2002; Stores, Stores, Fellows, & Buckley, 1998). These mothers may benefit from support. Latina mothers in particular who care for a child with an intellectual disability experience more stress and depression than non-Latina mothers (Blacher, Shapiro, Lopez, Diaz, & Fusco, 1997). The research examining the specific types and sources of support that are relevant to Latino families with children with disabilities is limited. In this study I examined the types and sources of support that are available to 146 mothers (84 Latina mothers, and 62 non-Latina mothers), with children with disabilities, and how that support relates to family and caregiver well-being. Specifically, I described the types and sources of familial support available to Latina and non-Latina mothers. Then, I examined the relation between perceived familial support and three dimensions of family and caregiver well-being: caregiver satisfaction with life, parenting self efficacy/empowerment, and family quality of life. Finally, I examined how culturally situated beliefs about family obligation moderate the relation between perceived support and family and caregiver well-being. Results indicate that Latina mothers had significantly less partner emotional support than non-Latina mothers. Latina and non-Latina mothers did not differ on other dimensions of support (i.e., instrumental). Also, partner emotional support and some instrumental support significantly predicted caregiver and family well-being. Finally, familism moderated the relationship between familial support and family well-being but not caregiver well-being. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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