"Why my child?": Parental attributions for children's special needs

Kristin D. Mickelson, Minhnoi Wroble, Vicki S. Helgeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although research exists on how attributions for traumatic life events are related to adjustment, little has focused on parents' attributions for their children's special needs. Parents were interviewed twice over 1 year about their attributions for their children's special needs. We used parents' open-ended responses during the initial interview to construct a ratings survey for the second interview. Parents of children with Down's syndrome made attributions to genetic fluke, age, and fate/God's will; parents of autistic children made attributions to heredity and environment; parents of developmentally delayed children made attributions to medical problems and stress during pregnancy. Self-blame attributions and attributions to the environment were related to worse adjustment, whereas attributions to fate/God's will were related to better adjustment. Implications for family interventions and physicians are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1291
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '"Why my child?": Parental attributions for children's special needs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this