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      Are parents identifying positive aspects to parenting their child with an intellectual disability or are they just coping? A qualitative exploration

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          Abstract

          Although acknowledging the stress of raising their child with intellectual disabilities, parents also report that their child has brought about many positive changes in themselves and family. This study reports what parents perceive to be a positive aspect of parenting their child, as currently what constitutes a ‘positive’ is unclear. Seven key themes were identified; an increased sense of personal strength and confidence, changed priorities, greater appreciation of life, pleasure in the child’s accomplishments, increased faith/spirituality, more meaningful relationships and the positive effect that the child has on the wider community. Interpretive examination of the themes reveals that the positive aspects identified consist mostly of meaning-focused coping strategies. These enable parents to adapt successfully to the stressful experiences of raising their child and therefore could be amenable to meaning-focused therapeutic interventions for parents with newly diagnosed children or for those unable to identify any positive aspects of parenting their child.

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          Most cited references 78

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          The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

           B Fredrickson (2001)
          In this article, the author describes a new theoretical perspective on positive emotions and situates this new perspective within the emerging field of positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory posits that experiences of positive emotions broaden people's momentary thought-action repertoires, which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources. Preliminary empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory is reviewed, and open empirical questions that remain to be tested are identified. The theory and findings suggest that the capacity to experience positive emotions may be a fundamental human strength central to the study of human flourishing.
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            The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

            The broaden-and-build theory describes the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment and love. A key proposition is that these positive emotions broaden an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savour and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships. The broadened mindsets arising from these positive emotions are contrasted to the narrowed mindsets sparked by many negative emotions (i.e. specific action tendencies, such as attack or flee). A second key proposition concerns the consequences of these broadened mindsets: by broadening an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire--whether through play, exploration or similar activities--positive emotions promote discovery of novel and creative actions, ideas and social bonds, which in turn build that individual's personal resources; ranging from physical and intellectual resources, to social and psychological resources. Importantly, these resources function as reserves that can be drawn on later to improve the odds of successful coping and survival. This chapter reviews the latest empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory and draws out implications the theory holds for optimizing health and well-being.
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              Making sense of the meaning literature: an integrative review of meaning making and its effects on adjustment to stressful life events.

               Sungshim Park (2010)
              Interest in meaning and meaning making in the context of stressful life events continues to grow, but research is hampered by conceptual and methodological limitations. Drawing on current theories, the author first presents an integrated model of meaning making. This model distinguishes between the constructs of global and situational meaning and between "meaning-making efforts" and "meaning made," and it elaborates subconstructs within these constructs. Using this model, the author reviews the empirical research regarding meaning in the context of adjustment to stressful events, outlining what has been established to date and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current empirical work. Results suggest that theory on meaning and meaning making has developed apace, but empirical research has failed to keep up with these developments, creating a significant gap between the rich but abstract theories and empirical tests of them. Given current empirical findings, some aspects of the meaning-making model appear to be well supported but others are not, and the quality of meaning-making efforts and meanings made may be at least as important as their quantity. This article concludes with specific suggestions for future research.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Intellect Disabil
                J Intellect Disabil
                JLD
                spjld
                Journal of Intellectual Disabilities
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                1744-6295
                1744-6309
                07 February 2017
                December 2017
                : 21
                : 4
                : 325-345
                Affiliations
                Kingston & St. Georges University of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
                London South Bank University, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
                Author notes
                Carole Beighton, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston & St. Georges University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London, SW17 0RE, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Email: carole.beighton@ 123456sgul.kingston.ac.uk
                Article
                10.1177_1744629516656073
                10.1177/1744629516656073
                5703033
                27352854
                © The Author(s) 2016

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

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