Eurasian Journal of Educational Research

Print ISSN: 1302-597X & e-ISSN: 2528-8911
Learned Resourcefulness and Coping with Stress in Mothers of Children with Disabilities

Problem Statement:Research has indicated that some mothers can cope with stressful life conditions and continue their lives normally, whereas others are unable to overcome such challenging conditions. Recent research has shown that mothers of children with disabilities are likely to know more about why some mothers have relatively well-adjusted lives despite stressful conditions, as well as why they cope better with these conditions than others. However, to date, studies in Turkey have only concentrated on the degree to which mothers of children with disabilities feel stress and which coping ways they use to curb the negative effects of stress.

Purpose of the Study: This study aimed to examine the relationships between learned resourcefulness and ways of coping with stress.

Methods:The study sample consisted of 222 mothers of children attending special education institutions during the 2011–2012 academic year in Sakarya, Turkey. The Self-Control Schedule and Ways of Coping Inventory were used to assess learned resourcefulness and coping strategies, the relationships among which investigated using Pearson correlations. The conceptual model was tested using structural equation modeling, and data were analyzed with LISREL 8.54 and SPSS version 13.0.

Findings and Results: Results showed that while three ways of coping—self-confidence, optimism, and support-seeking—correlated positively with learned resourcefulness, the other two—helplessness and submissiveness—were negatively associated with learned resourcefulness. The goodness-of-fit index values of the model (χ2/df = 2.10, RMSEA = .072, GFI = .97, CFI = .97, NFI = .95, and SRMR = .053) indicate that the model was of an acceptable fit. According to path analysis, learned resourcefulness positively predicted self-confidence, optimism, and support-seeking and negatively predicted helplessness and submissiveness. Learned resourcefulness accounted for 36% of the variance for self-confidence, 33% for optimism, 7% for support-seeking, 5% for helplessness, and 8% for submissiveness.

Conclusions and Recommendations: This study demonstrated that learned resourcefulness positively predicted three ways of coping—optimism, self-confidence, and support-seeking— and negatively predicted helplessness and submissiveness. These results suggest that highly resourceful mothers of children with disabilities are more likely to use self-confidence, optimism, and support-seeking and less likely to use helplessness and submissiveness when coping with stress.

Keywords: Learned resourcefulness, coping ways of stress, structural equation modeling, path analysis, mothers of children with disabilities

2014 Issue 55

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