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Research Article  |   September 1997
Role Perceptions of Mothers With Young Children: The Impact of a Child’s Disability
Author Affiliations
  • Terry K. Crowe, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Director and Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Orthopaedics, University of New Mexico, Health Sciences and Services Building, Room 215, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-5641
  • Betsy VanLeit, MPA, OTR/L, is Lecturer II, Occupational Therapy Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Kirsten K. Berghmans, is Staff Scientist, Center for Non-Invasive Diagnosis, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is currently enrolled in the Bachelor’s Degree Program in Occupational Therapy at the University of New Mexico
  • Paul Mann, PhD, is Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research
Research Article   |   September 1997
Role Perceptions of Mothers With Young Children: The Impact of a Child’s Disability
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1997, Vol. 51, 651-661. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.8.651
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1997, Vol. 51, 651-661. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.8.651
Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the perceived past, present, and future occupational roles of mothers of young children. Awareness of the role demands placed on mothers will assist occupational therapists in addressing the needs of children with disabilities within the family context.

Method. One hundred and thirty-five mothers of children 6 months to 5 years of age completed the Role Checklist, which examines participants’ perceptions of past, present, and future occupational roles. Forty-five participants had children with multiple disabilities and major functional limitations, 45 had children with Down’s syndrome, and 45 had children who were typically developing.

Results. The group of mothers of children who were typically developing was found to have significantly more present roles than the other two groups. All three groups lost significant numbers of roles from past (before birth of child) to present and anticipated adding significant numbers of future roles. There were no significant differences among the three groups in value placed on occupational roles.

Conclusion. Role demands of caring for a young child were high for all participants, particularly if the child had a disability. Participants seemed to respond to these demands by giving up other discretionary roles in order to meet their caregiving obligations. Thus, asking mothers of children with disabilities to take on therapy-related caregiving tasks may contribute to role strain.