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Mothers and Fathers of Young Developmentally Disabled and Nondisabled Boys: Adaptation and Spousal Support

Mothers and Fathers of Young Developmentally Disabled and Nondisabled Boys: Adaptation and... This study assessed the extent to which the presence of a young developmentally disabled or nondisabled male child affected adaptation and family roles for both mothers and fathers. Developmental child assessments, in-home ratings of parenting, and maternal and paternal self-assessments and interviews were included. Marital adjustment, disruptions in family life, and observed parenting of the child (but not depression) varied with disability status of child. Mothers in both groups reported more depressive symptoms and family disruptions than fathers. Fathers of disabled children assumed less responsibility than comparison fathers for child care, even in mother–employed families. Decreased father involvement in child care was specific to the disabled child, not to siblings, and was related to severity of the child's atypical behaviors. Expressive support from one's spouse was the best predictor of quality of parenting observed in the home for both mothers and fathers of disabled and nondisabled sons. Disharmony between current and “appropriate” spousal support was a significant negative predictor of perceived and observed parental adaptation. The concept of harmonic responsiveness was proposed to explain how proffered support must be tuned to the perceived needs and expectations of one's spouse for it to be effective. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Developmental Psychology American Psychological Association

Mothers and Fathers of Young Developmentally Disabled and Nondisabled Boys: Adaptation and Spousal Support

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1988 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0012-1649
eISSN
1939-0599
DOI
10.1037/0012-1649.24.3.441
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study assessed the extent to which the presence of a young developmentally disabled or nondisabled male child affected adaptation and family roles for both mothers and fathers. Developmental child assessments, in-home ratings of parenting, and maternal and paternal self-assessments and interviews were included. Marital adjustment, disruptions in family life, and observed parenting of the child (but not depression) varied with disability status of child. Mothers in both groups reported more depressive symptoms and family disruptions than fathers. Fathers of disabled children assumed less responsibility than comparison fathers for child care, even in mother–employed families. Decreased father involvement in child care was specific to the disabled child, not to siblings, and was related to severity of the child's atypical behaviors. Expressive support from one's spouse was the best predictor of quality of parenting observed in the home for both mothers and fathers of disabled and nondisabled sons. Disharmony between current and “appropriate” spousal support was a significant negative predictor of perceived and observed parental adaptation. The concept of harmonic responsiveness was proposed to explain how proffered support must be tuned to the perceived needs and expectations of one's spouse for it to be effective.

Journal

Developmental PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: May 1, 1988

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