Culture and Coping: Anglo- and Greek-Australian Parents of Children with a Disability

By Helen Kothrakis.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This cross-sectional study informed by the Lazarus and Folkman (1984) model of stress and coping and Triandis’ (1995) theory of individualism/collectivism, aimed at exploring the ways of coping of 31 Anglo- and Greek-Australian parents with a child with a disability using a mixed methods research design. Independent sample t-test analyses revealed cultural differences in the way of coping between the fathers in the sample. Greek-Australian fathers selected more wishful thinking and avoidance strategies where as Anglo-Australian fathers selected more problem focused coping. No differences in ways of coping between Anglo-and Greek-Australian mothers were found. Deductive content analyses revealed culturalised differences in terms of interdependent and independent self construals. Greek-Australian parents differed from their Anglo-Australian counterparts in reference to family role and responsibility, as well as perception of stigma. Anglo-Australian parents differed from their Greek-Australian counterparts in relation to work, social networks and marital relationship. Overall the study highlights the presence of culture specific (emic) responses that need to be considered in research dealing with parents of children with a disability from diverse cultural contexts.

Keywords: Culture, Coping, Child Disability, Mothers, Fathers

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.103-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 760.484KB).

Mrs Helen Kothrakis

Teaching Associate/PHD Candidate, Education, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

I am a practicing psychologist working in clinical practice, and I have been teaching at a tertiary level for close to 10 years. As a psychologist I work with a broad range of people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. I am currently involved in a very innovative program of collaborative health care, whereby medical doctors, psychologists and other mental health professionals provide support to marginalised individuals in the community residing in SRSs, with very encouraging outcomes. As a teaching associate, I am involved in a Masters of Counselling Program, teaching both on campus and offshore. As a bicultural/bilingual psychologist, I have particular interests in research and practice, which is culture inclusive and acknowledges uniqueness and diversity.