Religion and parenting a child with a learning disability

PhD Thesis

Whittinger, N. 2011. Religion and parenting a child with a learning disability. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Department of Applied Psychology
AuthorsWhittinger, N.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDClinPsychol

Section A provides a review of the current research literature on religion and parenting a child with a learning disability. Religion is generally associated with positive outcomes, although there are some mixed views regarding religious communities. Most literature is carried out abroad and differences between study designs make it difficult to compare between studies, indicating a strong need for UK research. Implications for services are discussed and suggestions provided for future research.
Section B is a research study exploring the role of religion for parents of children with a learning disability in the UK. Existing research shows religion plays an important role for some parents of children with a learning disability. To date, most studies have been carried out in America and have focussed on religious observance. This study aimed to assess the personal role of religion for parents in the UK. Eight parents of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith were interviewed. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, a method designed to capture lived experiences. Religion was found to help some parents make sense of their child’s disability and their role as a parent. Having faith gave parents hope and was an important part of their personal identity. The religious community was generally perceived as supportive, although there were barriers to participation for many families, including limited time and lack of family support. Further research assessing parents with other faiths and from specific ethnic groups and religious denominations may broaden understanding in this area.
Section C outlines further issues pertaining to the research study including research skills acquired and lessons learned during the completion of the project, implications for future
clinical practice, and ideas for future research.

KeywordsChildren with learning disabilities, Learning disability, Parenting, Religion, Interpretative phenomenological analysis
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Nov 2011
SubmittedOct 2011
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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