Research Article
Issue Date: May/June 2000
Published Online: May 01, 2000
Updated: April 30, 2020
Mothers With Disabilities: In Their Own Voice
Author Affiliations
  • Ruth S. Farber, MSW, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Allied Health Professions, Temple University, 3307 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140;
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Mothering
Research Article   |   May 01, 2000
Mothers With Disabilities: In Their Own Voice
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2000, Vol. 54, 260-268.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2000, Vol. 54, 260-268.
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Objectives. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the personal experience of women with disabilities engaged in the occupation of mothering and their perceptions of their interpersonal environment, including interaction with family, professional caregivers, and the community.

Method. In this qualitative study, in-depth interviews were conducted with a diverse sample (n = 8) of mothers with disabilities or chronic illnesses to uncover the nature of their mothering experience. Data were analyzed for themes with the constant comparison approach of grounded theory.

Results. The quality of the participants’ experience varied with the degree of perceived similarity or dissimilarity with other mothers and acceptance of these differences. In addition, their perception of the supportive or nonsupportive nature of their interpersonal environment had an impact on their mothering experience.

Conclusion. The results suggest that mothers with disabilities tend to value the importance of performing maternal occupations according to a perceived culturally common way, although self-acceptance of their own unique differences in performing these occupations facilitates maternal engagement as well.