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Publication Date

4-2-2019

First Page

54

Last Page

71

Abstract

Using distributive justice theory as a framework, the purpose of the present mixed methods study was to determine whether parental differential treatment was present and if so, to what degree, in families of children with a developmental disability. Moreover, if present, we examined to what extent parental differential treatment impacted family dynamics. One bilingual (i.e., French-English) family and eight French-speaking families, which were all middle-class families, participated. Mothers, fathers, and siblings who are typically developing were individually questioned during semi-structured interviews and completed the Sibling Inventory of Differential Experiences—Revised questionnaire. Children also completed the Perceived Fairness of Parental Differential Treatment measure. All quantitative data generated by the questionnaires were analyzed descriptively using the SPSS program, whereas interviews were coded using qualitative methods. Specifically, in vivo and axial-thematic coding of the interview data revealed that, according to both parents and children, the degree of parental differential treatment varied across families of children with developmental disabilities; yet, differential treatment was often justified and perceived as necessary by parents and children. These findings provided an overview of struggles and blissful moments that families of children with developmental disabilities may encounter on a daily basis. Implications for practitioners and policy are discussed.

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