Date Approved

5-23-2017

Embargo Period

5-30-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA School Psychology

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Callueng, Carmelo

Subject(s)

Parents of children with disabilities; Mothers

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

The focus of the present study explored how maternal identity is influenced by parenting experiences of a child with a disability. By gaining insight on mothers' experiences of raising a child with a disability, a deeper understanding of the psychological impact can be achieved. This research sought to understand how a mother's challenges, adjustments, and feelings in caring for a child with a disability have contributed to her self-concept. In-depth interview was employed to gather information on mother's view of self as well as how others view the mother in relation to parenting a child with disability. Qualitative analysis of data was used to extract themes that describe self-identity of mothers. Mothers reported both positive and negative experiences that impacted their self-perceptions and other's perception. A paradox exists between mothers' experiences of negative changes in self-esteem and personal growth in being the primary caregiver of their child with a disability. In contrast to the negative emotions mothers reported a greater sense of awareness and realization of strengths. In relation to other's perception of mother's identity, participants reported the inability to connect with others and difficulty maintain social and romantic relationships, but discussed the ability to form meaningful relationship with mothers who share similar challenges which served as a system of support.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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