Document Type

Dissertation

Title

Mothers' perceptions of occupations related to mothering a child with feeding difficulties

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Department

College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Sandra Dunbar

Publication Date / Copyright Date

9-2008

Publisher

Nova Southeastern University. College of Health Care Sciences

Abstract

"September 2008" A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy. Typescript Project Advisor : Sandra Dunbar Objective. The purpose of this study was to gain insight regarding mothers' perceptions of their occupations when mothering a child with feeding and eating difficulties. This research study examined the following research questions. What is the perception of life satisfaction in mothers of young children who demonstrate difficulties in the occupations of feeding and eating as compared to that of mothers whose children are typically developing? What is the perception of stress in mothers of young children who demonstrate difficulties in the occupations of feeding and eating compared to that of mothers whose children are typically developing? What are mothers' perceptions of their occupations when mothering a young child with feeding and eating difficulties? Method. The design for this study was mixed methodology, specifically a triangulation design: convergence model (Creswell & Plano-Clark, 2007). In this method, both quantitative and qualitative data are collected simultaneously. In the quantitative portion of the study, two groups of women (34 mothers of typically developing children and 29 mothers of children with feeding difficulties) were surveyed utilizing the Parental Stress Scale (PSS) and the Life Satisfaction Index for Parents (LSI-P). In the qualitative portion of this study, five women from the group of mothers of children with feeding difficulties were interviewed using phenomenological inquiry. Results. Overall, there was no statistically significant difference between groups in terms of life satisfaction. However, in one of the five LSI-P categories, that of leisure and recreation, there was a statistically significant difference between groups (p value = .019). Data analysis revealed no statistically significant difference between the groups on the PSS. The qualitative data analysis revealed the following themes: feeling supported, seeking support, the range of emotions/feelings, the complexity of feeding, and dealing with the system. Mixed methods comparison of the quantitative and qualitative data offered further exploration and illumination of both data sets. Conclusion. With regard to the first research question concerning the issue of life satisfaction, the qualitative data provided further insight into the results of the quantitative data analysis. The qualitative data analysis revealed significant statements related to all five of the domains of the LSI-P. In terms of the second research question concerning the issue of stress, the qualitative data analysis provided further insight into the results of the quantitative data analysis. The qualitative data analysis shed light on the issue of stress, revealing that mothers of children with feeding difficulties do experience concerns that result in feelings of stress, anxiety, difficulty, and worry. The final mixed methods data analysis revealed the complex nature of the interaction between mothering occupations and mothering a child with feeding concerns. The additional occupations and challenges that mothers of children with feeding difficulties face often result in feelings of decreased life satisfaction and stress.

Disciplines

Occupational Therapy

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