Perceived changes in self-image and coping strategies of mothers of children with disabilities

Deborah L. Helitzer, Leslie D. Cunningham-Sabo, Betsy VanLeit, Terry K. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Changes in the perceived self-images and coping strategies of mothers of children with special needs after they participated in a short-term occupational therapy intervention (Project Bien Estar) are discussed. We conducted focus groups to ascertain whether women's coping strategies and views of themselves had changed as a result of participation in the program. The results of this study found that participating in Project Bien Estar enabled participants to share their perceptions of their self-image such as feeling overwhelmed with their daily care routine, being socially isolated, losing their identity, and expecting less from their careers. Participants expressed that participating in the program helped them to feel strong, attractive, resilient, respected, and accepted. After participating in the program, they expressed they had gained coping skills such as increased ability to advocate for themselves and their child, more relaxed expectations about their responsibilities and what is needed to care well for their child, and increased self-care practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalOccupational Therapy Journal of Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychosocial intervention
  • Qualitative research
  • Women's roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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