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Am J Ment Retard. 1999 Nov;104(6):545-63.

Differences in coping effectiveness and well-being among aging mothers and fathers of adults with mental retardation.

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Jane Addams College of Social Work (MC 309), University of Illinois at Chicago 60607-7134, USA.


In this longitudinal study, we examined stress and coping processes among 133 married mothers (age 59 to 83) and fathers (age 56 to 84) of adults with mental retardation (age 19 to 53). There were no differences between mothers and fathers with respect to their frequency of use of emotion-focused coping, but mothers used significantly more problem-focused coping strategies than did their husbands. For mothers, greater use of problem-focused coping strategies and lower use of emotion-focused coping buffered the impacts of caregiving stress on their psychological well-being. However, for fathers, no buffering effects of coping were detected. The implications of gender differences in coping effects were examined in the context of the impact of lifelong caregiving.

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