Psychological, sociocultural and economic coping strategies of mothers or female caregivers of children with a disability in Belu district, Indonesia

Gregorius Abanit Asa, Nelsensius Klau Fauk, Paul Russell Ward, Karen Hawke, Rik Crutzen, Lillian Mwanri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Caring for children with a disability can cause a range of psychological and socioeconomic challenges for parents and caregivers, such as anxiety, depression, inability to find affordable and appropriate childcare, loss of income and expenses related to disability specific treatment. As part of a study exploring the impacts of childhood disability on mothers or female caregivers and families, and the copy strategies they used, this paper describes strategies employed by mothers or female caregivers to cope with challenges associated with childhood disability within their family in Belu district, Indonesia. A qualitative approach using one-on-one in-depth interviews was used to collect data from participants (n = 22) who were recruited using a combination of purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and imported to NVivo 12 for analysis. A qualitative framework analysis was used to guide data analysis. The conceptual framework of coping strategies guided the conceptualisation and discussion of the findings. The findings showed that active psychological coping strategies, including cognitive or acceptance strategies, knowledge of both health condition and socio-academic related development of children with a disability, and family relationship and support, were used by the participants to cope with psychological challenges facing them. Self-reliance and religious/spiritual coping strategies were also utilised. Sociocultural strategies, such as social withdrawal or disengagement, professional support and culture-based support, were used by the participants to cope with social impacts, stigma, and discrimination associated with childhood disability. Participants also reported using financial strategies such as selling of family assets to cope with the economic challenges. The findings indicate the need for programs and interventions that address the needs of mothers and female caregivers and their families, to assist with effectively managing the significant challenges they face when caring for a child with a disability. Further studies are needed, with a larger number of participants and the inclusion of fathers or male caregivers, in order to better understand the broader coping experience of childhood disability impacts within families.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0251274
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021

Keywords

  • caregivers
  • Children with disability
  • mental health
  • coping strategies

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