Young Adult Children of Parents with Disabilities Can Experience High Self-Esteem and Positive Childhoods

Researchers at the National Center for Parents with Disabilities surveyed 2,340 young adults who had applied for a college scholarship. The respondents were young adults ages 17-21 who were enrolled in or accepted to college and who had at least one parent with a disability. On the surveys, the respondents were asked to rate their overall self-esteem, the extent to which they believed that children of parents with disabilities are stigmatized, and whether their overall experience growing up with a parent with a disability was very positive, positive, mixed, negative, or very negative. The respondents were also asked to describe what types of disability their parents had, when the disability occurred; and whether it was stable, got better or worse over time, or if it was variable (sometimes better, sometimes worse). Finally, the respondents answered questions about whether they had a disability themselves, how often their family socialized with people with and without disabilities, and how positively or negatively their family was viewed by their neighbors and others in the community.