The Consequences of Caring: Effects of Mothering a Child With Special Needs

  • Leiter V
  • Krauss M
  • Anderson B
 et al. 
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Abstract

This article broadens our knowledge about family caregiving across the life course by examining caregiving and employment effects experienced by women with children with special needs, using data from a survey conducted in 1998-1999. Almost one fifth of the mothers provide at least 20 hours a week of home health care to these children. More than half of the mothers in the labor force report an employment effect in the form of reducing their hours, and more than half of the mothers at home full-time report ceasing paid employment due to their children’s needs. Experiencing these effects was most strongly associated with the child’s health characteristics. The caregiving provided by mothers of children with special needs occurs at a formative stage of their lives and may be intense and of long duration. These mothers’ experiences should be included in the current research and theories about family caregiving across the life course.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Caregivers
  • Children
  • Chronic illness
  • Disabilities
  • Family

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Authors

  • Valerie Leiter

  • Marty Wyngaarden Krauss

  • Betsy Anderson

  • Nora Wells

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