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Well-Being and Support Systems of Taiwanese Mothers of Young Children with Developmental Disabilities

  • Author(s): Ho, Tzu-Hua
  • Advisor(s): Duffy, Sharon;
  • Blacher, Jan
  • et al.

This study investigated the influences of children's adaptive skills, problem behaviors, and parent support systems (informal support and formal professional support) on maternal well-being (health and stress) in Taiwanese mothers of young children with developmental disabilities. The study examined the moderating effects of formal support and informal support on the relationship between child characteristics and maternal well-being. The theoretical framework of this study is based on the Double ABCX model of Family Adjustments and Adaptation Response (FAAR) (McCubbin & Patterson, 1982, 1983). An ABX model based on the Double ABCX model was used in this study for investigating the relationships among child characteristics, support systems, and maternal well-being in Taiwan. One hundred and twenty mothers of young children with developmental disabilities between 3 and 5 years of age participated in this study. Children's adaptive skills and problem behaviors were measured using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and the Child Behavior Checklist. The Family Support Scale was used to collect information about mothers' perceived helpfulness of two types of support. The Parenting Stress Index was used to measure mothers' stress. The 36- item Short Form Health Survey was chosen to assess maternal health. Regressions and general linear models (GLM) were tested to examine the moderating effects of supports on the associations between child characteristics and maternal well-being. Consistent with the literature in U.S. and other countries, the child-related parenting stress was significantly associated with child problem behavior. Results suggest that the perceived informal support is a significant moderator for the impact of child problem behavior on parenting stress. Mothers of children with more severe problem behaviors reported lower stress when they perceived better informal support. Different effects of formal and informal supports were discussed. It is important to consider both child characteristics and mothers' concerns for providing effective early intervention services and appropriate supports to families of children with developmental disabilities.

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