Family functioning of single-parent families with children attending a special needs school in Japan

Pediatr Int. 2021 May;63(5):581-588. doi: 10.1111/ped.14486. Epub 2021 May 9.


Background: Single-parent families with disabled children are obliged to take special care of children and shoulder excessive burdens. This study aimed to clarify the family functioning of child-rearing single-parent families with children attending special needs schools in Japan.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with qualitative content analysis utilized for data analysis.

Results: The results of the data analysis clarified nine categories: excessive concentration of family functioning on mothers, and adjustments in the family functioning they perform; creation of a family environment friendly to disabled children and their families; satisfaction with family needs by gaining support from the neighborhood and social resources; anxieties related to children's disabilities; promotion of a better understanding of disability; unavoidable reduction in the amount of time shared by the family; efforts to maintain an infrastructure for health care; selection and effective use of a special needs school; and strengthened bonds between families with disabled children.

Conclusions: Receiving adequate support from the school is of great assistance in enabling families to maintain their family functioning. This demonstrates that, through the use of the time while the child attends a special needs school, the family can accomplish family functioning, contributing to a fulfilling family life.

Keywords: child rearing; disabled child; family research; single-parent family.

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Children*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Mothers
  • Schools
  • Single-Parent Family*