Iranian mothers' perceptions of their lives with children with mental retardation: A preliminary phenomenological investigation

Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

Volume 4 - Number

Article Type: ---- Unspecified ----

This phenomenological study explored Iranian mothers' lived experiences of having a child with mental retardation (MR). Six mothers parenting a child with MR who attended a School for Exceptional Children were interviewed. Semi-structured interviews which encouraged the mothers to describe their experiences were audiotaped, transcribed and analyzed in accordance with Colaizzi's (Existential phenomenological alternatives for psychology, New York, Oxford University Press, 1978) procedural steps. Six major themes were found in the data: Challenging the process of acceptance, painful emotional reactions, the inter-relatedness of the mother's health and the child's well being, struggles to deal with oneself or the child, inadequate support from the family and community, and anxiety related to the child's uncertain future. Findings from this study contribute to a preliminary understanding of Iranian mothers' experiences and needs. The results suggest introductory changes in nursing practice, staff education and program development to best serve mothers and their children with MR.