DATE: Thursday, September 5, 2013
TIME: 11:00 a.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Heather Eskridge Hoyt
DISSERTATION TITLE: "An Unexpected Life: A Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experience of Mothering a Child Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability "
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2007
CHAIR: Dr. Christine Peterson
READER: Dr. Paula Thomson
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Gloria Lee
Hoyt, H. (2013). An Unexpected Life: A Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experience of Mothering a Child Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
This phenomenological study explored the lived experience of mothering a child diagnosed with a developmental disability (n = 7). By analyzing mothers’ experiences using a phenomenological research design, the researcher explored the external and internal events which provide the foundation for what it means to be the mother of a child diagnosed with a developmental disability. The phenomenological study aimed to provide a holistic understanding of each participant’s personal experience as well as to reveal essential commonalities shared by the participants in order to expose the essence of what it means to be a member of this population.
The researcher investigated the phenomenon through in person individual interviews that were digitally recorded and personally transcribed by the researcher. The interviews were analyzed using phenomenological data analysis methods to gain an understanding of the experience specific to each individual as well as themes of the experience shared across participants. The research identified five distinct themes common to the participants’ experience of mothering a child diagnosed with a developmental disability: Accepting an Unexpected Life, Life Goes On, Speaking for Her Child, Accepting Unpleasant Realities, and Facing the Future.
The results of this research imply that mothering a child diagnosed with a developmental disability is an experience that includes multiple layers of complexity, some of which were individualized and unique depending upon a variety of circumstances specific to each participant, and others which revealed common themes shared by all participants. Keywords: mothers, children, developmental disability, phenomenology, parentingPlease note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.