PARENTAL COPING METHODS FOR MANAGING STRESSES EXPERIENCED FOLLOWING OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENT OF A CHILD WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

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2004-05-17

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A model describing the process of parental adaptation to life after voluntarily placing a child with developmental disabilities in out-of-home care was generated by utilizing grounded theory to analyze 20 qualitative interviews. The resulting model provides an organized understanding of how parents adapt to post-placement stressors. The cognitive appraisals of parents were categorized by their associated emotions: guilt, sadness, fear and worry, anger and frustration, and uncertainty (emotional stresses); and relief (an emotional advantage). Problematic and desirable adaptive responses to placement of both the child with developmental disabilities and his or her siblings, and the critical or supportive messages from others were determined as contextual factors affecting the emotional stresses of the parents. The primary coping methods employed by the parents to manage the emotional stresses consist of reappraisals regarding the necessity of placement, involvement in the child's life, therapy, and the passage of time.

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