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The impact of the birth of a child with intellectual disabilities on pre-existing parental Christian faith from the perspective of parents who have parented their child to adulthood

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number6
Volume28
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)524-535
Publication statusPublished
Early online date30/03/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background

Faith in the lives of UK families with an adult with intellectual disabilities is an under-researched area with little existing literature. Research in the United States with Christian parents suggests that they draw on their faith for coping (Rogers-Dulan 1998) and for understanding (Skinner etal. 1999).

Methods

In this study, grounded theory methodology has been used to examine the impact on pre-existing parental faith of the birth of a child with intellectual disabilities from the perspective of parents who have parented their children to adulthood. Seventeen parents or couples took part in semistructured qualitative interviews about their faith.

Results

The majority of parents after their child were diagnosed with intellectual disabilities went through a period of flux when they questioned the role of God in the disability.

Conclusions

The positive or negative connotations of the attempts at meaning-making did not impact on the eventual outcome for the parents. They eventually put such existential questions aside, accepted their child, and continued in their faith. The implications of the research for health professionals, church organizations and researchers are considered.