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01-04-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2015

A Multifaceted Model of Changes and Adaptation among Korean Mothers of Children with Disabilities

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2015
Hye Jun Park, Grace H. Chung


The present study sought to strengthen existing research on parenting in the context of child disability in two ways. First, we applied the caregiving stress process model to systematically examine a dynamic process of change and adaptation among mothers raising children with disabilities over time. Second, we conducted six focus groups with 18 Korean mothers to enrich cultural understanding of what contributes to their adaptation in the context of Korean society, paying particular attention to informal support. A convenient, purposive sampling method was used to recruit Korean mothers from local special education centers, who were married and had at least one schoolage child with a disability. The focus group narratives primarily revolved around how mothers have come to embrace their child’s disability over time though they are aware that it is a never-ending endeavor in process. Caregiving experiences were shaped by their subjective appraisal of the child’s disability and their own lives, which had gone through significant changes over the years following an initial diagnosis of a child’s disability. Social support, particularly the informal support from other mothers who are also raising a child with a disability, was not something that was immediately available to them but gradually came to take a meaningful place in their lives over time. Findings suggest that for an intervention program to be effective, it should be embedded in the larger public policy that offers the context where mothers can build informal support network.

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