Family Life With Children With Disabilities: The Key Role of Rehabilitation



This study examines the effects of children's medical impairments and functional disabilities and the use of medical care and rehabilitation on three family consequences (job changes, severe financial problems, and sleep disruptions). We use a life course perspective on the interlinked lives of family members, countertransitions, and career contingencies to understand the family impact of child disability. Using data from the 1994 and 1995 National Health Interview Surveys (N= 3,446), we find that the rehabilitation services that children receive account for (mediate) a large part of the observed association of children's medical impairments and disabilities on these family outcomes. Assistance in obtaining rehabilitation for children with disabilities could reduce the family costs and disruptive countertransitions associated with raising children with disabilities.