The presence of a painful, disabling chronic disease may have implications for perceived ability to fulfill a parenting role. The purpose of this research was to examine the realities of parenting from the perspectives of mothers, fathers and grandparents with arthritis using a combination of methods: a cross sectional survey and in-depth focus group discussions. There was consensus that pain, fatigue and restricted physical functioning combined to interfere with the parenting role. Overall, approximately 35% of the sample had experienced difficulties attributed to arthritis. A gender difference emerged with women reporting more difficulties in relation to caring for babies and toddlers, whereas men reported more problems as children grew older. Key themes concerned: physical limitations; practical and caring issues; social factors; emotional response; hereditary risks and safety issues. Perceived inability to fulfill parenting roles resulted in feelings of frustration, guilt, anger and depression. A number of positive outcomes were mentioned including children's increased awareness of the needs of others. Limitations of the methodological approach adopted are discussed
Bibliographical noteLesley Cullen subsequently changed her name to Lesley Powell.
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- parenting role