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Role of Spirituality and Religion in Family Quality of Life for Families of Children with Disabilities

By: Denise J. Poston and Ann P. Turnbull

Abstract: Results from a qualitative inquiry investigating conceptualization of family quality of life are provided. Focus groups and individual interviews were comprised of 187 individuals that included family members (e.g., parents, siblings) of children with a disability, eight individuals with a disability, family members of children without a disability, service providers, and administrators. Data were collected in urban and rural settings to elicit participants’ understanding of domains of family quality of life. Themes of spirituality and religion in the context of family quality of life for families of children with disabilities are explored in this article. Families described the importance of spirituality in their lives and their participation in religious communities. Discussion and implications include strategies to enhance family spiritual well being, to provide spiritually sensitive supports, and to promote inclusive religious communities for children with mental retardation and developmental disabilities (MR/DD) and their families.
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