Known by the Children’s Condition: Associative Stigma Among Family Carers of Children with Cerebral Palsy


Dako-Gyeke M., Boateng D. A. , Mills A. A. , Kodm R. B. , Appiah-Kubi J.

Global Social Welfare, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s40609-021-00203-w
  • Title of Journal : Global Social Welfare

Abstract

© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG part of Springer Nature.The experience of associative stigma (stigma that persons experience because they are associated with persons who belong to a stigmatized category in society) could have negative impacts on carers’ and children’s health and well-being. This descriptive qualitative study therefore focused on associative stigma among family carers of children with cerebral palsy (CP) in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Using the convenience sampling technique, sixty-one family carers were purposively recruited to participate in the study. Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted to collect data. With the permission of participants, the FGDs and IDIs were audio-recorded and transcribed. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis was employed to analyze the data. The findings indicated that the carers of children with CP were stigmatized and discriminated against by family and non-family members. Evidence showed that myths and beliefs underpinned people’s negative attitudes toward carers included in the study. Moreover, the family carers utilized different strategies, such as avoidance, discounting, reacting, and accepting, to address associative stigma. Given that carers’ experiences of stigma and discrimination are often overlooked, family counseling and education could be provided to help challenge the negative perceptions and beliefs people have about the condition. This would help improve the well-being of carers, particularly mothers of children with cerebral palsy.