Parental attitudes and personality traits, self-efficacy, stress, and coping strategies among mothers of children with cerebral palsy
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Submission date: 2015-02-11
Final revision date: 2015-05-06
Acceptance date: 2015-05-06
Online publication date: 2015-06-15
Publication date: 2015-06-15
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(3):246-259
Development of children with cerebral palsy (CP) depends on the quality of parental care. The aim of the research was to compare parenting attitudes in mothers of children with CP to mothers of typically developing children, and to study the relationship between parenting attitudes and personality traits, stress, coping strategies and self-efficacy in mothers of children with CP.

Participants and procedure
Twenty-seven mothers of children with cerebral palsy (MCCP) (mean age 35.50 years, SD = 4.83) and twenty-eight mothers (mean age 35.60 years, SD = 4.27) of typically developing children (MTDC) participated in this study. Each parent had a child between the ages of two and seven years. A battery of tests was administered to both groups, which included the Parenting Attitudes Scale (SPR), the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES), and the COPE Inventory. Also, maternal stress and the amount of social support received were assessed.

Although acceptance was the most common parental attitude among all participants, mothers of children with CP presented with a stronger tendency towards overprotective and demanding attitudes. MCCP obtained higher scores in neuroticism and lower in openness compared to MTDC. Furthermore, MCCP declared a higher level of distress than MTDC. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups of mothers regarding self-efficacy, the level of social support or the most often used coping strategies. Neuroticism was found to be the best predictor of overprotective and demanding parental attitudes.

The study emphasises the importance of parenting programmes for mothers with children with CP to promote the development of autonomy among children with developmental difficulties.
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