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Date of Award

6-2017

Document Type

Restricted Project: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work

Department

School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McAllister, Carolyn

Abstract

Caring for a child with disabilities and special needs can be a challenging and arduous responsibility. Many parents are unprepared to cope with such event and encounter problems with their own health and psychological well- being. Conversely, when parents and families are empowered with appropriate tools and techniques they can overcome these difficult circumstances through the use of health coping strategies. This study will examine the use of coping strategies and the impact on parent’s psychological health. The literature review in this study will discuss coping practices, and the adverse affects on parent’s emotional welfare.

The research was conducted with eight parents who participated in an audio-recording, face-to-face interview with open-ended questions. The data of this study was collected and examined by utilizing qualitative methods. Interview data was transcribed into written form to explore and identify common themes. Researcher used a qualitative approach to understand participant’s experiences. The study discovered four common themes: 1. Social support systems, 2. Family Dynamics, 3. Spirituality, and 4. Positive Thinking. The findings of this study may increase awareness and understanding of healthy coping strategies utilized by parents of children with special needs and how it may impact their psychological well-being. The research also addressed the limitations of the study, the significance of the study for social work and the future recommendations for the social work profession and future research.

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