Expressive Suppression in Parents of Children with Disabilities
Raising and caring for children with disabilities involves a number of challenges that most parents/caregivers are unprepared for. Dealing with negative emotions such as guilt, lack of fulfillment, disappointed hopes, fear, shame and even despair can adversely affect the life of the entire family. Expressive suppression protects the ward and other family members from an outward expression of the caregiver’s emotions and prevents conflicts, but it does nothing to alleviate the caregiver’s internal emotional state. This study diagnoses the problem of expressive suppression in parents/caregivers of children with disabilities and assesses the connection between suppressed emotions and anxiety/depressive symptoms based on the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS) and the shortened Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-7). The study involved 60 parents of children with disabilities living in metropolitan, urban, and rural areas. An elevated level of expressive suppression and the occurrence of anxiety-depressive disorders occurred in over half of the parents. Using non-parametric methods, a significant weak positive correlation (p = 0.398) is observed between the sum of the points obtained on the CECS scale and the sum of the points on the HAMD-7 scale. In the group with the elevated levels of expressive suppression, a significant strong positive correlation (p = 0.612) is observed between the sum of the points obtained on the CECS scale and the place of residence (with a higher degree of expressive suppression in parents from rural areas). There is also a significant correlation between the sum of points scored on the HAMD-7 scale and the financial standing of the families (p = 0.667), which reflects the impact of low social status on the occurrence of anxiety and depressive disorders.
Keywords:emotion regulation, disability, expressive suppression, parenting, most cited
Volume 35, Number: 1, Year 2020 of International Journal of Special Education