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Mothers’ and fathers’ roles in caring for an adult child with an intellectual disability

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 10:13 authored by Rowbotham, M, Carroll, A, Monica CuskellyMonica Cuskelly
To date, there have been few studies of mothers’ and fathers’ roles in caring for their adult children with intellectual disabilities. The present study investigated the care-giving roles of mother and father couples caring for their adult offspring with an intellectual disability, their psychological health, and the demands and satisfaction of their care-giving roles. Twelve Anglo-Australian middle-aged mother and father couples with an adult child with intellectual disability (mean age = 24 years) participated in semi-structured interviews about their care-giving roles and completed a series of questionnaires pertaining to care-giving difficulties and satisfaction, hassles and uplifts, and general health. Findings indicated that an extremely high proportion of both mothers and fathers were in the clinical range for social dysfunction, anxiety/insomnia, and somatic complaints, although levels of depression were relatively low. The present study found that mothers undertake more daily care-giving tasks than fathers, but that the range of tasks is similar. Mothers also reported significantly more care-giving difficulties and satisfaction than fathers. Associations between measures differed somewhat for the two parent groups, indicating the need for further exploration of both mothers’ and fathers’ experiences.


Publication title

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education








Faculty of Education



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 Taylor & Francis

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Provision of health and support services not elsewhere classified

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