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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

An examination of the relationship between parental empowerment and support in families who have a child with a disability

Presenters: Courtney Doman ; Emily Arrington ; Famke Halma
Authors: Courtney Doman, Emily Arrington, Famke Halma, Clint Broadbent
Faculty Advisor: Clint Broadbent
Institution: Southern Utah University

The ongoing challenges that families that have a child with a disability face necessitate resources to meet these demands. This secondary data analysis examines the relationship between two of these resources: parental empowerment and support (familial, social, spousal, and professional). Parental empowerment is the effect that helps parents have confidence and parental control over raising their children and awareness of what to do in parenting challenges. Support is defined as the help or resources an individual receives from other sources. Previous research has shown that social support has strong ties to emotional empowerment and both parental empowerment and social support have increased as a result of interventions. Social involvement and spousal support result in positive results while a lack of professional support is linked to decreased empowerment. Further examination of all types of support are needed to better understand the relationship between support and empowerment. Five transitional studies were conducted with children (study 1 n=206, study 2 n=187, study 3 n= 333, study 4 n=210, study 5 n=96) at age three and in kindergarten in 5 states: Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, and Wisconsin, with representative population samples from each. Variables examined in this presentation were collected using the Family Support Scale (FSS) and Family Empowerment Scale (FES). We hypothesize that there will be a correlation between parental empowerment and the various methods of support and resources experienced by the family. Results will be discussed in the larger family context and specific implications for the existing body of research on children with a disability examined.