Parenting Stress in Zambian Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities
Ncube, Busisiwe Louise
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This dissertation examined the experiences of Zambian parents of children with developmental disabilities (DD) using the Perry (2004) stress model as a theoretical framework. The overall project was a sequential mixed methods design, including four distinct studies. Study 1: Semi-structured interviews with 15 Zambian mothers were used to explore what themes arose from discussions about factors contributing to the experience of raising a child with DD in Zambia. The twenty-five emergent themes included barriers to accessing services, challenges obtaining information, and the value of support provided by special education teachers and other parents of children with DD. Study 2: Questionnaires were administered to 76 Zambian caregivers of children with DD. Univariate analyses and hierarchical linear regressions were used to explore which factors were predictive of outcomes. Individuals with greater financial need (p = .001) and higher self-efficacy (p < .001) ratings were more likely to endorse positive outcomes related to having a child with DD. Participants who reported less financial need (p = .004), less frequent use of negative coping styles (p = .030), a greater number of sources of support available to them (p = .002), and greater self-efficacy (p = .010) also endorsed higher quality of life ratings. Finally, greater financial need (p = .010) and more frequent use of negative coping (p = .001) were predictive of poorer mental health. Study 3: The third study examined the relationship between executive functions and coping in a subsample of 44 participants from Study 2, using additional questionnaire measures. After controlling for parents education level and financial need, executive function alone accounted for 56% of the variance in active coping, 30% of the variance in support coping, and 25% of the variance in negative coping. Study 4: Finally, in order to solicit participant input on our interpretations of the results, a focus group was conducted with a subsample of 10 caregivers from Study 2. Select results from Studies 1 and 2 were presented to the group and participants were able to provide further context to enhance our understanding of the factors contributing to parenting stress among Zambian parents of children with DD. Overall this dissertation presents an in-depth examination of the experiences of Zambian mothers of children with DD, and directions for future research that may further benefit this population.