Does arthritis influence perceived ability to fulfill a parenting role?: Perceptions of mothers, fathers and grandparents.

Julie H. Barlow, Lesley A. Cullen, N.E. Foster, Karen Harrison, M. Wade

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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
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


Bibliographical note

Lesley Cullen subsequently changed her name to Lesley Powell.
The full text of this article is not currently available from this repository.


  • arthritis
  • parenting role
  • guilt
  • expectations
  • caring

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