Children of mothers with intellectual disability: Stigma, mother-child relationship and self-esteem

Tiffany S. Perkins, Steve Holburn, Kay Deaux, Michael J. Flory, Peter M. Vietze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background We investigated mother-child relationships and self-esteem of typical children of mothers with intellectual disability. Methods Eighteen girls and 18 boys from various ethnic groups were administered question-naires to assess: (a) attachment style; (b) caregiver style; (c) perception of maternal stigma; and (d) self-esteem. The children were also asked to list the identities or roles that they play in life. Results Results suggested that: (a) the relationship between the child's perception of stigma and attachment to the mother is mediated by the warmth of the mother's caregiving style; and (b) if the child has an avoidant or anxious/ambivalent attachment to the mother, self-esteem tends to be lower. Furthermore, multiple identities contribute to positive self-esteem among these children. Conclusions Results are discussed in relation to the model presented and the consistency of the findings with attachment theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-313
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


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