Dimensions of Parenting in Families Having Children With Disabilities

Robert H. Bradley, Stephen L. Rock, Leanne Whiteside, Bettye M. Caldwell, Judith Brisby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined relationships between parenting, severity of disability, and five aspects of family ecology for 83 preschool and 69 elementary school children with disabilities. Family ecology variables included socioeconomic status, coping styles, social support, stressful life events, and marital quality. We noted significant positive correlations between parenting (as measured by the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment [HOME] inventory) and both marital quality and social support (especially perceived helpfulness, instrumental support from father, involvement in social groups, and emotional support network). We noted significant negative correlations between parenting and stressful events. The relationship between coping styles and parenting was mixed, but negative coping styles were negatively correlated with parenting. Partial correlations, controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), resulted in a diminishment of some correlations, especially those for social support and marital quality. We performed hierarchical regression analyses using 10 family ecology variables plus severity of disability, with HOME scores as criteria. Severity of disability and all five types of ecology variables provided significant contributions to the regression models tested. We then performed separate regression analyses for high-SES and low-SES subgroups. The regression models predicted HOME scores for both SES groups, but the pattern of relationships varied somewhat by social status and age of child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-61
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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