A Multicultural Examination of the Relationship between Coping and Well-Being in Parents of Children with Disabilities
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Prior coping literature has typically focused on Western models, with an emphasis on changing one’s environment or situation from an individualistic perspective. However, alongside the increasing cultural diversity in the U.S., there has been a recent movement towards examining collectivistic models of coping in reaction to the exclusion of cultural orientations that consider one’s impact on relationships in managing stress. People of Color who have children with disabilities are a highly vulnerable group given their barriers to services and experienced stigma from outside and within their cultural communities. Using the Double ABCX Model (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983) as a framework, this study explored the relationship between caregiver stress and well-being outcomes, while testing the mediating effects of coping. The sample consisted of 386 caregivers of children with disabilities. The majority of the sample were female (96%). Participants completed self-report questionnaires to assess for family strains, stigma, coping, and well-being. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed to determine the effects of Individualistic and Collectivistic coping strategies on well-being for both European Americans and People of Color. Engagement, Disengagement, and Collectivistic Coping strategies significantly predicted overall Well-Being. Coping was a partial mediator for many of the relationships between Pile-up factors and Well-Being. People of Color endorsed Collectivistic Coping strategies to a greater degree than European Americans. Results from this study demonstrate the use of bi-cultural coping amongst Caregivers of Color and highlight the utility and importance of considering coping and well-being from a cultural lens in working with this population at large.