Mothers and Fathers of Children with Cerebral Palsy: Differences in Future Expectations

Sharon Barak, Dina Elad, Tamar Silberg, Amichai Brezner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Parents’ expectations are known to be a central component in children’s development through multiple pathways; however, limited information exists regarding expectations of parents of children with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the current study was to examine future expectations of parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP), as well as the differences in expectations between mothers and fathers. Forty-nine mothers and fathers of children with CP (6–12 years) participated in this study. Parents completed a Parental Future Expectations Questionnaire for Children with Disabilities, and a Perception of Child’s Ability questionnaire, as well as the Pediatric Evaluation Disability Inventory (PEDI). The Gross Motor Function Measure-66 (GMFM-66) was completed by physical therapists. Parental differences in future expectations were analyzed and multiple-stepwise regressions established parental expectations’ predictors. Parents’ expectations correlated with their child’s characteristics. Parents of children with lower levels of functioning reported lower expectations. No differences were found between mothers’ and fathers’ future expectations; however, differences were found between expectations’ predictors. Predictors of mothers’ expectations were their perceptions of their child’s abilities as well as child’s performance. Fathers’ predictors were child’s level of functional impairment and their perceptions of their child’s abilities. The results indicate that parental expectations relate to their child’s functional ability and differ between parents in relation to the child’s level of impairment (fathers) or child’s actual performance (mothers). These differences should be acknowledged by clinicians when they provide specific support for children with chronic physical disabilities and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Developmental disabilities
  • Expectations
  • Parental differences
  • Pedi


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