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Keywords:

  • child;
  • technology-dependent;
  • family functioning;
  • longitudinal;
  • depressive symptoms;
  • normalization

Abstract

Few researchers have longitudinally examined families caring for technology-dependent children at home. We tested a theoretically and empirically based conceptual model by examining family functioning and normalization in 82 mothers (female primary caregivers) twice over 12 months. Time 1 and Time 2 cross-sectional findings were consistent; the only predictor of family functioning was mothers' depressive symptoms. Contrary to the proposed model, normalization, caregiving duration, and home nursing hours were not directly related to family functioning. Baseline family functioning significantly predicted future family functioning. Also, mothers whose children were no longer technology-dependent at Time 2 reported significant improvements in family functioning and normalization. An intervention to address high levels of depressive symptoms of these mothers is essential to optimizing family functioning. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 35:40–54, 2012