It used to be that a village raised a child. Nowadays raising a child is the responsibility of two parents - sharing a journey and exploring their new roles as parent. For some parents this transition to parenthood comes easily, for most it is a challenge. In some parenting relationships the sharing of responsibilities come easily, others struggle. In our new study, we are interested in the parenting partnership. We are asking parents to complete a 15 minute survey about sharing their parenting experiences with their partner. We would love to hear from both partners but if only one can complete the survey that is fine too. Each survey is anonymous and your partner will not see your responses.
If you are interested in the survey - click here to learn more about the study. Feel free to share with friends and family. Thank you!
Foster carer stress and satisfaction: An investigation of organisational, psychological and placement factors
Alyce McKeough graduated with a Master of Clinical Psychology from the University of Newcastle in 2015. She was awarded 2015 Clinical College Student Award from the Australian Psychological Society for her research. Recently, Alyce's paper was published in the Children and Youth Services Review. It is a great achievement that we would like to celebrate.
We would also like to acknowledge and remember Kylie Bear. Kylie started this study as part of her PhD and it was great to have Alyce to complete and extend her research. Kylie passed away after battling with ovarian cancer. Kylie was loved by her clients, both children and carers, in her work as a clinician at Life Without Barriers. Her passion for the welfare of children in out-of-home care was striking and her PhD project reflected her passion and aimed to improve the lives of foster carers and the children they look after. It was an inspiration to work with Kylie and to get to know her.
Below you can read a summary of the paper, and if you want to read the whole article, click here.
The unique demands of the foster carer role are associated with high levels of self-reported stress among foster carers. The current study examines the amount of carer stress that can be attributed to certain role specific challenges and how stress from these challenges varies between carers and placements. As a secondary aim the study examines carer perceptions on current organisational support and training. Participants were sourced from a national fostering agency with branches in the local area. Carers were eligible to participate in the study if they were caring full time for at least one foster child. Eligible carers completed an identical online or paper survey including measures of general stress and parenting stress as well as study specific measures regarding satisfaction with organisational training and support. Results demonstrated that challenging behaviours are the most stressful unique role demand for foster carers and the largest predictor of carer stress levels. Overwhelmingly carers reported a desire for additional training in order to support them in their role. The results support previous research outlining the difficulties faced by foster carers and the need to improve support and training to ensure good placement outcomes including placement stability and reduced carer attrition.
McKeough, A., et al. "Foster carer stress and satisfaction: An investigation of organisational, psychological and placement factors." Children and Youth Services Review 76 (2017): 10-19.
Last year, Jane Goodwin submitted her PhD for examination. The thesis is titled "From general developmental disability to 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: Understanding parental experiences - A mixed methods analysis". Today Jane's second paper was published in the Journal Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. It is a great achievement that we would like to celebrate. Below you can read the abstract of the paper, and if you want to read the whole article, click here.
The presentation of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is symptomatically variable, presenting diagnostic challenges for paediatricians and anxious uncertainty in parents. The ‘lived’ experience of parenting a small child diagnosed with 22q11DS is unknown particularly how parents make sense, both positive and negative, of their role. A phenomenological study sought subjective interpretations from two fathers and four mothers of a young child (8–36 months) diagnosed with 22q11DS. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, data were collected through semi-structured interviews and thematically analysed. Four themes embodied uncertainty and fear simultaneously experienced by these parents such as anticipatory traumatic distress, systemic stigma, confusion at professional smoke screens and ‘not knowing’. This cacophony of distressing emotions plagued their unanswered fear, guilt, loss and grief. In seeking hope, their parenting journey was able to be redefined as one of intrapersonal and interpersonal growth from the adversity of 22q11DS. This study provides a lens into the experiences of parents struggling to make sense of their journey with 22q11DS in the early parenting years. It highlights the complex distress of parenting a small child whose development is fraught with uncertainly and where stigma and suspicion are often experienced when seeking support from social and health systems. However, a metamorphosis of personal strengths also emerged facilitated by hope. Healthcare professionals can best assist through open discussion that acknowledges often limited knowledge, using the guidelines for management of 22q11DS in guiding parents.
Goodwin, Jane, Lynne McCormack, and Linda E. Campbell. "Positive and Negative Experiences of Parenting a Pre-school Child with 22q11. 2 Deletion Syndrome." Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: 1-10.
Hi, I am Dr Linda Campbell. I am an Academic and a Clinical Psychologist. This blog is meant to keep you in the loop about the activities of of our research lab - the FIND Lab.