Positive Psychological Functioning of Parents of Children with Special Needs

Hello, my name is Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D., and I am a Clinical Psychologist at East Tennessee State University (ETSU).  Along with my colleague, Jon R. Webb, Ph.D., who is the parent of a child with Down syndrome, I am conducting a national survey of parents of children with special needs.  We have received approval from our university Institutional Review Board to learn more about the experiences of parents of children with special needs, how they cope with daily life stressors, and what the effects of care-giving might have on their physical and emotional health.

Past research on families with children having special needs has largely been focused on dysfunction, or the negative impact of a special-needs family member.  However, we are taking a different approach, focusing instead on positive psychological functioning such as resiliency, coping strategies and the strengths that emerge in such families.  This area has been overlooked in the literature.

We are writing to you today to request that you disseminate information about participating in this survey to all members of your organization.  Participants who volunteer will complete a group of online surveys asking about their emotional and physical health, coping techniques, and their quality of life.  Completing the surveys should take approximately 30 minutes, and all responses are both confidential and anonymous; all responses will be grouped together for analysis, no individual answers will be examined.

Please find attached a brief description of the study, along with the survey web-link (URL below), which you can simply “cut and paste” into an email, newsletter or website.  Of course, please feel free to customize as needed.  Here is the “blurb” and survey link:


Follow this link for an opportunity to participate in a Research Study focused on you as a Parent of a child(ren) with special needs and how you handle your everyday stressors. Note: Each parent can participate individually.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/copingstudy


Thank you in advance for your consideration and assistance.  Please feel free to contact either of us, at any time, if you have questions about this study.

Jameson K. Hirsch, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Assistant Chair
Department of Psychology
East Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 70649
Johnson City, TN 37614

Email: hirsch@etsu.edu
ResearchGate: https://goo.gl/ak7fC0

Google Scholar: https://goo.gl/TvnVGC

Associate Editor, International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction

Editorial Board, Cognitive Therapy & Research

Consulting Editor, Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior

Editorial Board, Journal of Rural Mental Health

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