Parents of children with disabilities confront a number of challenges and may be at risk for depressive or trauma-related symptoms. Changes in family roles and routines can cause stress for parents, siblings, and extended family alike as they confront multiple issues, including behavioral problems and frequent healthcare needs. Despite such challenges, many families derive a sense of meaning from facing their difficulties in a positive way.

This book surveys the most recent empirical research on families of children with disabilities and provides guidelines and strategies for the developmental and family psychologists who support these clients.

The book follows a developmental progression, first examining the immediate effects that a child's disability can have on his or her family and looking at the changes that occur as the child grows and faces new challenges. In doing so, the author examines studies employing a variety of methodologies, including quantitative research, meta-analyses, and qualitative methods such as narrative analysis.

The book also describes cognitive behavioral interventions and programs that train parents to more effectively manage child behavioral problems and thereby improve family well-being.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Initial Experience and Reactions
  3. Stress, Coping, and Growth
  4. Family Change and Reorganization
  5. Medical Issues and Medical Professionals
  6. Special Education, Inclusion, and Advocacy
  7. Social Exclusion and Social Support
  8. Developmental Disabilities Through the Life Span
  9. Life Challenges and Life Stories
  10. Death and Bereavement
  11. Clinical Implications
  12. Conclusions and Future Directions



About the Author

Author Bio

David W. Carroll, PhD, is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Superior, where he taught courses in cognitive and developmental psychology and the history of psychology, and won awards for teaching, scholarship, and service.

He received a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy from the University of California at Davis and a master's and doctorate in experimental and developmental psychology from Michigan State University.

He is the author of Psychology of Language, and he has published research on the linguistic analysis of written text, the teaching of psychology, and the history of psychology.

He is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, and APA Divisions 1 (Society for General Psychology), 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), and 26 (Society for the History of Psychology).

Reviews & Awards

This book will be a very valuable resource for all of those professionals who treat, counsel, or engage in therapy with families of children with developmental disabilities.