“It Takes a Village”: Factors Related to Coping in Families Raising Children with Disabilities

Main Article Content

Ellyn Byrns


In this paper, the author argues that caregiver coping in raising children with disabilities extends to include not only the parents but the rest of the family system as well. Adjustment, social and emotional support, resiliency and adaptability, and flexibility are examined by the author as specific factors contributing to successful coping of parents, siblings, and grandparents in raising children with disabilities. A critical literature review by the author discusses the current state of knowledge in this area and explores themes of research in each of the categories described. The author discusses conflicting interpretations of prominent caregiver coping research by Mattingly and Ingstad, and concludes with a discussion of global perspectives on this issue and recommendations of further research to contribute to understandings of coping in family systems raising children with disabilities. Implications of this research relate to improving clinical practice, service provision, and public policy development on this topic.