Mothers with Learning Disabilities' Experience of Relationships with their Parents, Partners and Friends: An IPA study
Many mothers with learning disabilities experience social isolation (McGaw, 1998; Booth & Booth, 1996) despite current research clearly delineating the importance of supportive relationships for mothers with learning disabilities. The aim of this research was to investigate the experience of three types of relationships from the mother’s perspective. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five mothers with learning disabilities about their experience of three types of supportive relationships, with their parents, their partners and their friends. The transcripts were analysed individually using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Super-ordinate themes were identified for each topic area. These were, for parent relationships, the importance of support, and vulnerability; for partner relationships, significance of support, and ambivalence about independence; for friendships, friendships can be dangerous, benefits of friendship. The results were related to existing theoretical frameworks, clinical implications were identified and recommendations for future research were made.