Date of Conferral
Martha J. Giles
Parenting stress (PS) is a phenomenon experienced by all parents to varying degrees due to the demands of meeting a child's needs. This distinct type of stress is caused by an imbalance between the perceived demands of parenting and the perceived coping resources available to parents. The construct of twice-exceptionality (2E) is defined as the co-occurrence of giftedness and disability or possessing both high cognitive abilities and at least 1 of 13 potential disabilities identified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. The purpose of this study was to understand how PS is experienced by parents of children who have been identified with 2E. The theoretical perspectives of stress appraisal, coping, and attribution guided this study and provided a framework for understanding the lived experiences of parents and the meaning they ascribe to these experiences. The goals of the study were accomplished through in-depth interviews with 13 participants, an extensive literature review, and reflective journaling. Interview data were analyzed using the phenomenological techniques of epoche, bracketing, horizontalization, and imaginative variation, and several relevant themes and subthemes were developed. High levels of PS described by the parents in this study indicate that further research is indicated for better understanding and serving the significant needs of this population. The social implications of this research include raising awareness of PS and 2E; increasing the potential for positive outcomes for children and families; and addressing misconceptions concerning giftedness, gender bias in the perceptions of parental roles, and the impact of PS on family systems.