The impact of stigma on maternal attitudes toward placement of children with disabilities in residential care facilities

Soc Sci Med. 2004 Aug;59(4):799-812. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2003.11.023.


This study examines willingness to consider placement of children with disabilities in residential care facilities among 81 mothers of children with disabilities. Perceived stigma is added to the Andersen and Newman model of health service utilization in order to evaluate its impact on placement attitudes controlling for predisposing, enabling and need characteristics and health beliefs. Findings of regression analyses suggest that older, single mothers of more severely disabled children are more likely than other mothers to consider residential placement and that adequate finances and residential stability may reduce this willingness. When these variables are controlled, the expectation that people with disabilities will be stigmatized by others in the community increases willingness to consider placement and does so by increasing the degree of caregiver burden experienced. Results also suggest, however, that among mothers of young children, specific aspects of perceived stigma have direct affects on willingness to consider placement even when perceived burden is controlled.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Disabled Children*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Residential Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stereotyping*