• Chronically ill children and marital adjustment in military families

      Mahlmann, John James; Varghese, Raju (1994)
      One hundred and forty seven married couples with a chronically ill/handicapped child from an Army base were matched with 147 married couples without a chronically ill/handicapped child from the same base to make up the sample. Comparisons were made on a variety of demographic and socio/emotional variables. It was found that respondents with a chronically ill/handicapped child present in the home had less education, family income, and rank status than control group respondents. In spite of these disadvantages, when the two groups were compared on a measure of marital adjustment, no significant differences were observed. Within group analyses of couples with a chronically ill/handicapped child in the home found that mothers, compared to fathers, were most adversely affected both emotionally and socially. Fathers with low levels of marital adjustment reported excessive time demands caring for the identified child and a lack of support caring for the child. The way in which care required by a chronically ill/handicapped child was measured determined whether or not it was related to the level of marital adjustment. This may help to explain the contradictory findings in the literature. When a model of stress appraisal and coping was tested using LISREL8 and social support, care, and psychological coping and marital adjustment were placed in the equation in every possible combination, it was found that for fathers, the model fit the data only when care and marital adjustment were in the model. For mothers, the model fit the data for care and marital adjustment and for social support, psychological coping, and marital adjustment. The model did not fit the data when all three independent variables were entered together. Related other theoretical approaches may prove better able to explain the factors that influence marital adjustment for fathers of chronically ill/handicapped children.