John, Aesha, & Diane Montgomery (2016). Parental explanatory models of child’s intellectual disability: A Q methodology study. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 63(3), 293-308. (doi: 10.1080/1034912X.2015.1085001) (Link:

Abstract: This study with families caring for an individual with an intellectual disability in a mid-sized Indian city explored the diverse explanatory models that parents constructed of causes, preferred treatment approaches and perceived social effects of their child’s intellectual disability. Seventeen mothers and three fathers rank ordered 48 disability related statements and participated in a qualitative interview. The intercorrelations and factor analysis of participant sorts helped to generate three parental explanatory models which were named religious resilience, in search of treatment and social change, and it is a burden to bear. The three models extracted 23%, 20% and 9% variance respectively. Interpretations based on factor arrays, consensus and differentiating statements, and qualitative interviews indicated that the first explanatory model utilised religion and spirituality to positively frame their child’s intellectual disability. The second explanatory model rejected religious notions and did not dwell on the cause of disability, but rather focused on optimal rehabilitation of individuals with an intellectual disability. The third model was characterised by maladaptive religious attributions and rehabilitation approaches.

Aesha John <> is in the Department of Social Work, Texas Christian University, Forth Worth, TX (USA).

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