Original Research

Family disability, poverty and parenting stress: Analysis of a cross-sectional study in Kenya

Xanthe Hunt, Christina Laurenzi, Sarah Skeen, Leslie Swartz, Phillip Sundin, Robert E. Weiss, Mark Tomlinson
African Journal of Disability | Vol 10 | a744 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v10i0.744 | © 2021 Xanthe Hunt, Christina Laurenzi, Sarah Skeen, Leslie Swartz, Phillip Sundin, Robert E. Weiss, Mark Tomlinson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2020 | Published: 10 June 2021

About the author(s)

Xanthe Hunt, Institute for Life Course Health Research, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa
Christina Laurenzi, Institute for Life Course Health Research, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa
Sarah Skeen, Institute for Life Course Health Research, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa
Leslie Swartz, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Phillip Sundin, Department of Biostatistics, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America
Robert E. Weiss, Department of Biostatistics, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America, United States
Mark Tomlinson, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Bellville, South Africa; and, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom


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Abstract

Background: Households with a disabled member, be they a caregiver or a child, are poorer than households not affected by disability. Poverty, caregiving as a person with a disability and being the caregiver of a child with a disability can lead to increased parenting stress.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine whether parenting stress experienced by caregivers in a household with a disabled member is greater when the disabled member is the caregiver, or the child, and how much of these respective relationships is explained by poverty.

Method: We collected cross-sectional data using a demographic survey, the Washington Group Questions on adult disability, the 10 Questions on child disability and the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, from 465 caregivers enrolled in a non-governmental child development programme in Kenya.

Results: Households with a disabled member were poorer than households without a disabled member. Parenting stress of disabled caregivers was higher than parenting stress of non-disabled caregivers; however, this relationship disappeared when socio-economic status was controlled for. Caregivers of disabled children were more stressed than caregivers of non-disabled children, and this effect was not explained by differences in socio-economic status.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the importance of developing a comprehensive understanding of the stressors facing households with a disabled member, particularly if that member is a child, so that supportive interventions can adequately cater to the needs of caregivers, and their children, in the context of poverty.


Keywords

poverty; parent child relationship; parenting stress; disabled children; child development; child rearing

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