Postdiagnosis personal growth in an Australian population of parents raising children with developmental disability

Strecker, Shannon, Hazelwood, Zoe J., & Shakespeare-Finch, Jane E. (2014) Postdiagnosis personal growth in an Australian population of parents raising children with developmental disability. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 39(1), pp. 1-9.

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Parenting a child with a developmental disability presents a variety of long-term physical and emotional challenges. When exploring parent wellbeing, the disability field is dominated by a deficit model despite parents reportedly demonstrating coping and resilience. The current study is embedded in a salutogenic theory (Antonovsky, 1979) and explores the potential for parents of children diagnosed with a developmental disability to undergo positive changes.


Participants were 6 fathers and 27 mothers who completed measures of distress and posttraumatic growth.


Compared with a number of other Australian samples, participants reported significantly higher levels of posttraumatic growth. Reports of growth did not negate reports of distress. Results also indicated that constructs of distress and growth were independent.


The research has important implications for disability support services, reminding providers to be cognisant of the potential for growth, as well as distress, thereby permitting an atmosphere conducive to exploring such outcomes.

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ID Code: 62951
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Posttraumatic growth, parents, child disability, developmental disability, salutogenesis
DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2013.835035
ISSN: 1469-9532
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in [Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability] [2013] [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
Deposited On: 26 Sep 2013 22:45
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2015 07:14

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