Family hardiness, family coping, and marital satisfaction as reported by caregivers of children who have been diagnosed with significant disabilities: A mixed methods online research study



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This online research mixed methods project was designed to explore, expand, and analyze the characteristics of families of children who have significant disabilities. Three concepts, family hardiness, family coping, and marital satisfaction, were analyzed in these families, in combination with qualitative reports of how the experience of raising a child with disabilities has affected the family system using the family stress model, the ABC-X model (Hill, 1949; McCubbin et al., 1987a; McCubbin et al., 1987b; Patterson & McCubbin, 1983). This research expands the previous research (Patrick-Ott & Ladd, 2010) which considered chronic sorrow, and ambiguous loss in families of children with significant disabilities. This present study has continued the qualitative exploration of raising a child diagnosed with significant disabilities and has gathered caregiver (92.6% parental) data from three quantitative surveys: The Family Hardiness Inventory (FHI), F-COPES (Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scale), and the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Survey (KMSS). An “Original Group” of respondents (N=68) provided demographic and qualitative data only, while a subgroup (n=38) of this original group provided the mixed methods data. One qualitative theme “Perception” was drawn from the qualitative responses of ten participants to the nine qualitative questions in this study; the two coders read their responses to determine if the participants had either a negative or a positive perception of their experience raising a child with a significant disability. The two responses, negative or positive, were quantified and analyzed using Pearson’s correlation against their scores on the three quantitative instruments. There were significant correlations between all quantitative measures (i.e. F-COPES, FHI, and KMSS), resulting in the first three null hypotheses being rejected. There was also a significant positive correlation between the score for perception (dummy coded as 0 = negative and 1 = positive) and the scores on F-COPES, resulting in the final null hypothesis being rejected. Cohen’s D was also run for effect sizes, where six interactions were found to have moderate to large effects (d > 3) (Gliner et al., 2017).



Family Therapy, Families, Disability, KMSS, FHI, FCOPES, Kansas Marital Satisfaction, Family Hardiness Index, Family Coping, ABCX Model, Family Stress, Children with Disabilities, Families with Disabilities