A descriptive study of the empowerment process of mothers of children who have disabilities

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Elise Bloch

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Tania Diaz-Fernandez

Third Advisor's Name

Ann Marie Knecht

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenological aspect in the empowerment process of mothers of children with disabilities, and to determine if the coding categories used by Dunst & Trivette (1996) could be replicated. Three mothers of children with disabilities agreed to participate in the study. A semistructured interview was used to determine the specific events that lead to empowerment. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed by the researcher. Fifteen coding categories and four majors themes of empowerment were identified. Triangulation was used to assure reliability and validity. The findings demonstrated that the coding stages of empowerment as outlined by Dunst & Trivette (1996) are reproducible, as well as the envisionment of the future for their children is the essence of empowerment for these mothers. Specific suggestions are made by which occupational therapists can facilitate the empowerment process of mothers who have children with disabilities.



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