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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Support systems for parents of children with Down Syndrome Kelsey-Etmanski, Helen


This study investigated the sources of support available to mothers of children with Down syndrome. Three levels of social interaction were examined: family support; informal support (friends and neighbours), and; formal support (professionals and social institutions). A questionnaire was circulated to thirty-two mothers of children with Down syndrome. The questionnaire surveyed those formal and informal systems which were potential sources of support for mothers. Findings indicated that mothers experiences were differentially affected by their setting. Mothers were generally satisfied with their sources of informal support. In two-parent families fathers were perceived as very supportive of their spouses, while in one-parent families the mothers relied on other sources such as friends, neighbours, and extended family for their support. Urban mothers expressed less satisfaction with formal systems of support than did mothers living in non-urban areas. Findings indicated that perceiving systems of support as supportive may relate to the quality of the services as well as to the availability.

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