Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to compare the time use of mothers of children with disabilities with the time use of mothers of children without disabilities.

METHOD. Sixty mothers with children 3 to 14 years of age (30 mothers with children with disabilities and 30 mothers with children without disabilities) completed time diaries over seven 24-hour days.

RESULTS. Significant differences were found between the two groups when comparing mean hours spent per week by mothers in occupations involving child-care activities and recreational activities. Mothers of children with disabilities spent significantly more time in child-care activities and significantly less time in recreational activities. In addition, mothers of children with disabilities reported fewer typical days and rated the quality of days as poorer. As children got older, the gap between the time mothers devoted to child care increased between the two groups.

CONCLUSION. The type of occupations a mother participates in varies significantly dependent upon whether a child in the family has a disability and the age of the child. Professionals need to work collaboratively with families to assist parents to meet the family’s daily needs particularly in light of the time demands of the mother.

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