Abstract

Utilizing grounded theory qualitative research methods, a model was developed for describing parental adaptation after voluntary placement of a child with severe or profound developmental disabilities in out-of-home care. Interviews of parents from 20 families were analyzed. Parents' cognitive appraisals of placement outcomes were classified as either inducing emotional stress (i.e., guilt, sadness, fear and worry, anger and frustration, and uncertainty) or relief. Parental appraisals of responses to placement by children, extended family, and friends were identified as factors affecting the parents' adaptation to placement. The primary coping methods used by parents to decrease emotional stress and increase relief consisted of reappraisals regarding the necessity of placement, involvement in the child's life, psychotherapy, and the passage of time.

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