Date of Award

Fall 1-6-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Peggy A. Gallagher, PhD

Second Advisor

Catherine Cadenhead, PhD

Third Advisor

Susan R. Easterbrooks, EdD

Fourth Advisor

Susan J. Kelley, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Elizabeth A. Steed, PhD

Abstract

Researchers have examined sources of support as well as family quality of life of parents raising children with disabilities (Brown, MacAdam-Crisp, Wang, & Iarocci, 2006; Darling & Gallagher, 2004; Davis & Gavidia-Payne, 2009; Zuna, Turnbull, & Summers, 2009). Scant research on grandparents raising grandchildren with disabilities has been conducted; an examination of sources of support and family quality of life of grandparents raising grandchildren is lacking in the literature. This study examined the sources of support and quality of life of 50 grandmother-headed families. Comparative analyses revealed that there were significant differences between grandmothers raising grandchildren with and without disabilities in regard to sources of support and family quality of life. Informal support was significantly higher for grandmothers raising grandchildren without disabilities. In addition, grandmothers raising grandchildren without disabilities rated satisfaction with all aspects of family quality of life except parenting as significantly higher than grandmothers raising grandchildren with disabilities. Correlational analyses showed a moderate correlation between sources of support and family quality of life for both groups of grandmothers. While total informal social support was significantly correlated with satisfaction ratings of family quality of life for both groups of grandmothers, total formal support was significantly correlated with satisfaction ratings of family quality of life only for grandmothers raising grandchildren with disabilities. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that there was a significant relationship between presence ofchild disability and satisfaction ratings of family quality of life. No significant relationship was found between presence of child disability and sources of support.

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