Author: Chow, Wai-keung Roy
Title: The cognitive coping strategies of the parents of adolescents with mental handicap
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1999
Subject: Parents of children with disabilities
Parent and teenager
Adaptability (Psychology)
Adjustment (Psychology)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Pages: vi, 85, [3] leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Families of children with disabilities has long been regarded as experiencing more stress than the other families. The depiction of those families is usually that is vulnerable to the problems related to raising a child with a disability. However, according to my contact with those parents at work and some recent studies, the depiction is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that caring for the persons with disabilities can be an experience of happiness and fulfillment, an experience of learning, a chance for personal growth and maturity, and some other positive attributes that may be construed from this negative event. It is expected that we may be able to learn more from the successful experiences and the strength of these families than from focusing on the problems of them. A qualitative research has been conducted to investigate what cognitive coping strategies that the parents of adolescents with mental handicap are using to adapt to this nonnormative event of life, i.e., raising a child with a disability. After analysing the data collected in the semi-structured interviews with nine respondents, some cognitive themes has emerged which are: gaining a sense of mastery, searching for meaning and purpose, enhancing self-esteem, and some core-beliefs. Beside those cognitive coping strategies that are contributory to the adaptation of the negative event, some other related components has also been identified. They are the parent-child relationship, social support, worries or difficulties, and attitudes towards the son with a disability. They are either contribute to a better adaptation of parenting a child with a disability or act as outcome components to certain extent reflecting adaptation. Cognitive coping is one of the many coping styles that may be helpful to persons in some situations and not the other situations. The understanding of the functions and nature of cognitive coping strategies will improve our work with families and counselling services. Lastly, the dissertation proposes some directions for further research.

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