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A Multiple Case Study of Caregivers’ Experiences of a Psychoeducational Support Group for Caregivers of Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): An Embedded Mixed Methods Study Open Access


Other title
parenting stress
case study
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
mixed methods
embedded design
parenting sense of competence
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Roger, Katherine M
Supervisor and department
Rinaldi, Christina (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
Yohani, Sophie (Educational Psychology)
Pei, Jacqueline (Educational Psychology)
Poth, Cheryl (Educational Psychology)
Watson, Shelley (Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
School & Child Clinical Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) can experience a number of neurocognitive deficits and associated adverse outcomes. Stable home life helps protect children with FASD against adverse outcomes; however, their primary caregivers typically have significantly higher levels of stress, which can affect the quality of caregiver-child interactions. Education and support groups have been found to be effective for decreasing stress and increasing feelings of competence for caregivers of children with disabilities. The primary aim of this embedded mixed methods case study was to explore the impact of a psychoeducational support group for three adoptive and kinship caregivers of a child diagnosed or suspected of having FASD. Quantitative data (i.e., questionnaires) was enhanced and augmented by qualitative data (i.e., interviews, observations, and feedback forms). Feelings of hope, changing perspectives, learning about disability-specific information, creating social connections, and opportunities to hear and share experiences were particularly helpful for caregivers. Stress was also a large factor for caregivers, and questionnaires indicated all caregivers were experiencing high levels of stress, both before and after the intervention. Despite reports that the group helped caregivers deal with stress, only interviews underscored these changes; thus, collecting both quantitative and qualitative information was helpful for understanding caregivers’ experiences. Implications for practice based on these experiences include the benefits of a needs assessment for caregivers, the value of a knowledgeable facilitator, the importance of group cohesion and the inclusion of a range of caregivers, the necessity to remove barriers for attendance, and the need to provide access to additional services for caregivers. These findings will help inform recommendations for future education and support groups for caregivers of children with FASD.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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