The views and experiences of fathers regarding their young child’s intellectual and developmental disability diagnosis: Findings from a qualitative study

Lynne Marsh*, Michael Brown, Edward McCann

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Aims and objectives: To report the views and experiences of fathers following their child's diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). Background: There is a growing interest in understanding the experiences of fathers of children with IDD given the transformation of the structural change of fathers’ roles within the family and wider society. Design: A qualitative design was used to elicit the view and experiences of fathers. Methods: A total of ten Irish fathers participated in face-to-face interviews. The data were thematically analysed. The COREQ guidelines for reporting qualitative studies were used in the development of this paper. Results: The key themes that emerged were (a) the confirmation of the child's diagnosis (b) the impact of the diagnosis and (c) father's motivation to participate in disability research. Conclusions: This study informs and develops a further understanding of the international evidence base of fathers receiving a confirmation of a child's diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability, the impact of the diagnosis on fathers and their motivation to share their stories to add to the disability research. Health and social care practitioners have important contributions to make in meeting the needs of fathers. There are specific areas to consider in terms of practice, education and research that require further attention and development to ensure fathers’ distinct needs regarding their child's diagnosis of IDD are known and responded to effectively. Relevance to clinical practice: This study highlights that when the child's disability is confirmed, fathers experience a diverse range of mixed emotions. Health and social care practitioners including nurses need to be aware of the impact of the diagnosis upon fathers. There is scope to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of health and social care practitioners regarding the experiences of fathers and how they can further support fathers and their families during the critical time of a disability disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date04 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 04 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • children
  • diagnosis
  • education
  • families
  • fathers
  • intellectual and developmental disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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