Long-term follow-up study of cerebral palsy children and coping behaviour of parents



The purpose of this study was to understand (a) the feelings, thoughts and actions of parents at the time their children were diagnosed as having cerebral palsy, (b) the crisis periods in raising their children, (c) the important persons who supported the parents during the ‘acceptance’ phase; and (d) the roles of mothers and fathers in raising the children The subjects were 28 mothers and fathers who had sons or daughters with cerebral palsy The latter offspring were aged 22–29 years at the time of this study They were interviewed at their homes with a semi-structured method retrospectively The results showed that most parents became aware of their children's disability in infancy and most of their children were diagnosed as having cerebral palsy by around 2 years of age The mothers’ reactions to the diagnosis were emotional and those of the fathers were realistic in coping with the problem Although crisis periods arose throughout the periods of growth and development of the children, the infancy period was the more critical for mothers and the toddlerhood, school-age and adolescence periods were more critical for fathers The important support people were the spouses The mothers took care of the children while the fathers provided an income, however, some fathers withdrew from competing for achievement in their jobs