Indian mothers need to be educated on better coping methods

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By Aesha John, PhD
Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas

Only a small portion of current literature deals with stress and coping among parents of children with intellectual disabilities (ID) in South Asian countries.

What did you do in your research?
I examined the level and causes of parenting stress among mothers of 3-6 year old children with ID in urban India. The goal was to examine the extent to which child functioning and maternal coping predict parenting stress. Mothers completed a survey on parenting stress and participated in an observation of mother-child interaction where interviews were done afterwards. The study identified negative and positive range of Indian mothers’ caregiving experiences.
What did you find out?
Results showed a high level of maternal stress with three-fourths of the sample scoring a stress level that was clinically significant (scored high). Also, gender controlled the link between maternal coping and stress. Mothers of girls reported significantly higher stress as compared to mothers of boys. The study findings indicate also that maternal coping methods rather than children’s adaptive functioning account for maternal stress levels. This link confirms past findings about the role of positive parental coping methods.

What are the take-home messages?
Findings regarding high maternal stress have important implications for professionals and mental health practitioners. Mothers need to be educated on better parental coping methods. The role of maternal coping, role of child’s gender; and the caregiving experiences impacts future research and family interventions in India.

To learn more about these findings contact
Aesha John.

Full Journal Article
John, A. (2012). Stress among mothers of children with intellectual disabilities in urban India: role of gender and maternal coping. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25(4), 372–382.