Positive and negative affect in parenting disabled children

Dee B. Ankonina, Malka Margalit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


abstractResearch on parents’ positive and negative affect may clarify critical aspects in the emotional impact of raising a child with disabilities, as related to stress-resistance factors such as personal coping and family climate. Parental affect (positive and negative), coping strategies (active and avoidant), and family climate (relationships, personal growth, and system maintenance) among 71 families with disabled children were compared (using MANCOVA) to parental measures of 77 families with nondisabled children, revealing significant differences. Parents of disabled children reported higher levels of negative (distressed) affect, adopted more avoidant coping strategies, and differed in their familial interrelations and the opportunities for personal growth available to them in their families. The discrepancies between the fathers’ and mothers’ scores in avoidant coping and in the family climate areas of personal growth and system maintenance were greater among the parents of disabled children than among the control parents. Positive and negative affect were differently predicted in the two groups of parents, highlighting the different role of coping resources and family resources in mediating stress. Implications were drawn for intervention planning and family empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1991


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