Occupational balance of mothers and fathers raising a child with special needs in Flanders

Engelen, Anne-Marie (2017-12)

Thesis (MOccTher)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : After the birth of a first child, a new role appears. Successful integration and performance of this parent role will positively affect the well-being of both parents, which in turn will enhance child and family well-being. Being a parent of a child with special needs, leads to extra parental occupations. A new distribution of all these different occupations within the occupational pattern urges and can be viewed from three different perspectives, namely: occupational areas, occupational characteristics and time use. The aim of the study was to explore occupational balance as experienced by mothers and fathers rearing a child with special needs in Flanders. Objectives related to this study were to explore the influence of occupations on the occupational balance of mothers and fathers and to explore the differences and similarities between ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’ perceptions of occupational balance. A qualitative research methodology with semi-structured interviews of 12 parental couples was used. Participants were selected by purposive sampling through chain referral. Once both parents agreed to participate voluntarily a semi-structured interview was conducted, audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Results, obtained through thematic analysis, showed that extra time for special needs was primarily found in the change of the occupational pattern. So called we- and me-time occupations were reduced. We time was lacking most, as both parents prioritized facilitating the me-time of their spouse above the joyful moments together as a couple. As so called necessary support was already provided by the grandparents, asking extra assistance to obtain time as a couple felt uncomfortable and therefore was often ignored. Although gender related differences were limited, generally mothers were less active at the labour market but conducted more household, care and support activities when compared with fathers. Gender dissimilarities were available in special needs caring and supporting activities. Direct care and support were mainly provided by mothers while fathers were more active in indirect care. To give an example the father takes care of the siblings (indirect care) while the mother is attending the child’s therapy (direct care). Besides the three above mentioned perspectives to view the occupational pattern and to determine the occupational balance, two perspectives were added. Specific characteristics of an individual parent, labelled as personal factors had an effect on the occupational pattern, on the perception of the desired and needed occupations, on the coping strategies and therefore on the perceived occupational balance of each parent. External factors of support were components of support to be transmitted from one individual to another. On the one hand giving support and on the other hand receiving support had an influence on the occupational pattern and balance. Some occupations had to be included while other occupations could be skipped as they were conducted by someone else. To conclude two perspectives namely, personal factors and external factors of support were added to the concept as initially used in this study. All five perspectives are intertwined and used to view the occupational pattern towards the subjectively perceived occupational balance which is a layered and dynamic concept. Focusing on the occupational balance of both parents provides new and valuable information in order to improve parents’ occupational balance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Na die geboorte van ‘n eerste kind verskyn daar ‘n nuwe rol. Suksesvolle integrasie en uitvoering van hierdie ouerrol sal die welwees van albei ouers positief beïnvloed wat op sy beurt kinder- en gesin welwees sal bevorder. Om ‘n ouer van ‘n kind met spesiale behoeftes te wees, lei tot ekstra ouer Aktiwiteite. ‘n Nuwe verdeling van al hierdie verskillende Aktiwiteite binne die Aktiwiteitspatroon vereis en kan beskou word vanuit drie verskilllende perspektiewe naamlik: Aktiwiteitsareas, Aktiwiteitskenmerke en tydbesteding. Die doel van hierdie studie was om Aktiwiteitsbalans te verken soos dit ervaar word deur moeders en vaders wat ‘n kind met spesiale behoeftes grootmaak in Vlandere. Doelwitte met betrekking tot hierdie studie was om die invloed van Aktiwiteite op die Aktiwiteitsbalans van moeders en vaders te ondersoek en om die verskille en ooreenkomste tussen die moeders en die vaders se persepsies van Aktiwiteitsbalans te ondersoek. ‘n Kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie met semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude van twaalf ouerpare is gebruik. Deelnemers is gekies deur doelgerigte steekproeftrekking deur middel van kettingverwysing. Nadat albei ouers ingestem het om vrywillig deel te neem, is ‘n semigestruktureerde onderhoud gevoer, wat opgeneem is en verbatim getranskribeer is. Resultate, verkry deur tematiese analise, het getoon dat ekstra tyd vir spesiale behoeftes hoofsaaklik in die verandering van die Aktiwiteitspatroon gevind is. Sogenoemde ons- en mytyd Aktiwiteite is verminder. Ons-tyd het die meeste ontbreek, aangesien albei ouers geprioritiseer het om die my-tyd van hul gade bo die vreugdevolle oomblikke saam te stel. Omrede die nodige ondersteuning alreeds deur die grootouers voorsien is, het dit ongemaklik gevoel om hulle te versoek vir ekstra hulp om ekstra tyd as egpaar te kon kry en gevolglik is dit geïgnoreer. Alhoewel geslagsverwante verskille beperk was, was die meeste ma’s minder aktief in die arbeidsmark, maar het hulle meer huishoudelike-, sorg- en ondersteuningsaktiwiteite uitgevoer in vergeleke met die vaders. Geslagsverskille was in spesiale sorg en ondersteunende aktiwiteite. Direkte sorg en ondersteuning is hoofsaaklik deur moeders verskaf, terwyl vaders meer aktief was in indirekte sorg en ondersteuning byvoorbeeld, vaders sal omsien na sibbe (indirek sorg) terwyl moeders terapie van kind bywoon (direkte sorg). Benewens die drie bogenoemde perspektiewe om die Aktiwiteitspatroon te beskou en die Aktiwiteitsbalans te bepaal, is twee perspektiewe bygevoeg. Spesifieke eienskappe van ‘n individuele ouer, wat as persoonlike faktore aangedui word, het ‘n uitwerking op die Aktiwiteitspatroon; op die persepsie van die verlangde en nodige Aktiwiteite; op die hanteringstrategieë en dus op die waargenome Aktiwiteitsbalans van elke ouer. Eksterne faktore van ondersteuning was komponente van ondersteuning wat van een individu na ‘n ander oorgedra word. Aan die een kant om ondersteuning te gee en aan die ander kant om ondersteuning te ontvang, het albei ‘n invloed op die Aktiwiteitspatroon en balans gehad. Sommige Aktiwiteite moes ingesluit word terwyl ander Aktiwiteite oorgeslaan kon word omdat dit deur iemand anders uitgevoer kan word. Ten slotte, twee perspektiewe naamlik, persoonlike faktore en eksterne ondersteuningsfaktore is bygevoeg tot die konsep wat aanvanklik in hierdie studie gebruik is. Al vyf perspektiewe is verweef en gebruik om die Aktiwiteitspatroon te beskou na die subjektiewe ervaring van Aktiwiteitsbalans wat ‘n komplekse en dinamiese konsep is. Deur te fokus op die Aktiwiteitsbalans van albei ouers bied dit nuwe en waardevolle inligting om die ouers se Aktiwiteitsbalans te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102839
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