The Benefits of Mutual Support Groups for Parents of Children With Disabilities

Abstract

This study examined what parents of children with disabilities and special needs found helpful about belonging to mutual support groups. Quantitative data (based on 56 parents from 6 groups) indicated that members found the groups very helpful and were very satisfied with the support they received from their groups; they also described the groups as high in cohesion, expressiveness, task orientation, and self-discovery. A grounded theory analysis of focus group data (based on 43 parents from 5 of the groups) indicated that such support was helpful in three broad domains: (1) the sociopolitical, which involved developing a sense of control and agency in the outside world; (2) the interpersonal, which involved asense of belonging to a community; and (3) the intraindividual, which involved self change. A central theme of identity change emerged as superordinate to these three categories.

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Solomon, M., Pistrang, N. & Barker, C. The Benefits of Mutual Support Groups for Parents of Children With Disabilities. Am J Community Psychol 29, 113–132 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005253514140

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  • mutual support groups
  • self-help
  • parents
  • children with disabilities