Being more than a mother: A qualitative study of Asian immigrant mothers in Australia who have children with disabilities

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Introduction: Studies on mothers of children with disabilities commonly report on their poor quality of life, high stress and mental health symptoms. However, the impact of caring for a child with disability on mother's everyday activities is less understood. The aim of this study is to explore the everyday activities of north-east and south-east Asian (NESEA) migrant mothers of children with disabilities, living in Australia. Methods: Informed by a grounded theory approach, this qualitative study used purposive snow-ball sampling to recruit NESEA mothers who had immigrated to Australia for at least two years and had at least one child with disabilities. Eleven mothers were interviewed. Grounded theory analysis was used to derive themes. Results: The overarching theme is ‘Transforming’. Five subthemes emerged: 1) Journeying into the unknown; 2) Being the carer; 3) Being an immigrant; 4) Pillars of support; and 5) Empowered for everyday activities. Conclusion: This study revealed the everyday activities and roles of NESEA immigrant mothers who have children with disabilities, their enablers and barriers in engaging in their valued activities and their positive transformation. Findings underpin the importance of facilitating mothers’ participation in activities and roles that promote their well-being. Service providers and policy makers can create opportunities for immigrant mothers to participate in health promoting activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104060
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Activities
  • Asia
  • Disabled children
  • Immigrant
  • Mothers
  • Roles

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