Family disability, poverty and parenting stress: Analysis of a cross-sectional study in Kenya

Xanthe Hunt, Christina Laurenzi, Sarah Skeen, Leslie Swartz, Phillip Sundin, Robert E Weiss, Mark Tomlinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Downloads (Pure)


Households with a disabled member, be they a caregiver or a child, are poorer than households not affected by disability. Poverty, caregiving as a person with a disability and being the caregiver of a child with a disability can lead to increased parenting stress. The objective of this study was to examine whether parenting stress experienced by caregivers in a household with a disabled member is greater when the disabled member is the caregiver, or the child, and how much of these respective relationships is explained by poverty. We collected cross-sectional data using a demographic survey, the Washington Group Questions on adult disability, the 10 Questions on child disability and the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, from 465 caregivers enrolled in a non-governmental child development programme in Kenya. Households with a disabled member were poorer than households without a disabled member. Parenting stress of disabled caregivers was higher than parenting stress of non-disabled caregivers; however, this relationship disappeared when socio-economic status was controlled for. Caregivers of disabled children were more stressed than caregivers of non-disabled children, and this effect was not explained by differences in socio-economic status. Our findings highlight the importance of developing a comprehensive understanding of the stressors facing households with a disabled member, particularly if that member is a child, so that supportive interventions can adequately cater to the needs of caregivers, and their children, in the context of poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbera744
Number of pages8
JournalAfrican journal of disability
Early online date10 Jun 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 10 Jun 2021


  • child development
  • child rearing
  • disabled children
  • parent child relationship
  • parenting stress
  • poverty


Dive into the research topics of 'Family disability, poverty and parenting stress: Analysis of a cross-sectional study in Kenya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this