Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Project

Degree Name

Occupational Therapy (M.S.)

Department

Occupational Therapy

Abstract

This research project focused on the effects of parental multiple sclerosis (MS) upon parenting roles and family coping. Specifically, the study was implemented to acquire insight into the primary research question: How do parents perceive familial role changes resulting from MS to impact coping of their adolescent children? The study also investigated the role of occupational therapy in assisting parents with MS to facilitate coping in their adolescent children. These concepts were investigated though a mixed methods design, using the Role Checklist to quantitatively assess participants’ roles and values, and a focus group to qualitatively explore participants’ lived experiences of parental role changes. Data analysis of the Role Checklist and focus group revealed three main themes: (a) MS symptoms that limit to role participation; (b) degree of understanding; and, (c) availability of support. Analysis indicated a discrepancy between the parental assessment of impact and actual impact upon roles changes. Although participants reported “minimal” impact, they also expressed low communication between parents and adolescents, thus indicating a potential lack of insight. The researchers conclude that occupational therapists should further address the implications of performance capacity deficits upon roles and interventions to facilitate positive coping within families with a parent with MS.

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