Identifying coping mechanisms of parents of children with special needs

Evelyn Jean Callahan, Pace University

Abstract

The appraisal and coping process is thought to play an important role in modulating the effects of difficult life circumstances. This study investigated internally based types of coping styles to determine which coping style tended to best modulate the difficult life circumstances of parenting a child with special needs. This was done by comparing coping styles to depressive symptomology as ineffective coping mechanisms tend to be related to increased depressive symptoms. Also, coping styles were compared to levels of self-confidence as effective coping mechanisms tend to be related to increased levels of self-confidence. Measures of coping style, depression, and self-confidence were administered to parents of children with special needs in one of five life stages. Results indicated that parents using the cognitive avoidance coping style of cognitive avoidance, acceptance/resignation, and the behavioral avoidance coping style of seeking alternative rewards, and emotional discharge had higher depressive symptomology. Parents using the behavioral approach coping style of seeking guidance and support and problem solving had higher levels of self-confidence. The behavioral avoidance coping style of emotional discharge was negatively correlated with self-confidence. There were no significant differences found in the parental levels of depression and self confidence with the life stage of their children. No significant difference was found with the parent's level of depression and self confidence and their perception of the child as having mild, moderate or severe impairment. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Special|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Evelyn Jean Callahan, "Identifying coping mechanisms of parents of children with special needs" (January 1, 1996). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9620768.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9620768

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