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Parenting children with cochlear implants : challenges, stress, coping, and processes Zaidman-Zait, Anat

Abstract

The central goal of the current dissertation was to expand the research on the experiences of parents of children with cochlear implants (CIs). To accomplish this goal, three studies were conducted: The first study explored everyday problems associated with parenting children who undergo cochlear implantation; to investigate parents' interpersonal relationships as a resource for collaborative problem solving; and to examine links between parents' everyday problems, stress, and life satisfaction. Thirty-one parents of children with CIs responded to open-ended questions regarding the types of everyday problems they encountered in parenting their child, and also rated their stress and life satisfaction. Problems were categorized into nine domains: implant drawbacks, communication difficulties, child's behavior, child's social competence, rehabilitation demands and parenting role, financial difficulties, services, educating others/advocacy, and academic concerns. Professionals, spouses, and other parents of deaf children were frequently nominated partners for collaborative problem solving and coping. Significant correlations emerged among parents' everyday problems, stress, and life satisfaction. The second study described and categorized the attributes that parents of young children with CIs consider as facilitating their parental coping experience. Fifteen hearing mothers and thirteen hearing fathers whose children had CIs were interviewed, using the critical incident technique. A total of 430 critical incidents were documented and sorted into 20 categories. Results indicated various sources of influence on parents' coping experience, associated with social contextual aspects, with the parent himself or herself, and with the child. The third study examined the complexity of parenting children who have received CIs as well as parents' involvement in the CI rehabilitation process. Action theory and its related qualitative action-project method were used in this study. Two cases were used to describe the individual and joint actions and projects, as related to the promotion of children's outcomes post-cochlear implantation that mothers engage in with their young children. Potentially illuminative implications were drawn for the 'current thinking' in relationship to parenting children with cochlear implants. Finally, four overarching themes emerging from the findings of the three studies were identified and described. These themes were discussed in terms of implications for practice and future research.

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