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Investigating the caregiving burden and stress of mothers with children with special needs.

BACGROUND: This research was conducted to examine the caregiving burden and stress situations of mothers with children with special needs.

METHODS: The research, which is descriptive and correlation-seeking, was conducted between September 2022 and September 2023 in special education and rehabilitation centers in a city in eastern Turkey. The population of the research consists of the mothers of 2072 children who received education in the specified Special Education and Rehabilitation Centers between the specified dates. The sample size was determined to be 324 individuals based on the known sampling method. "The Personal Information Form, the Zarit Caregiving Burden Scale, and the Perceived Stress Scale were used to collect the data for this study. The data was analyzed using the SPSS package software. For the interpretation of the data, percentages, means, standard deviations, one-way variance analysis, independent groups t-test, Pearson correlation, and simple linear regression were used.

FINDINGS: Among the mothers, 44% were aged 30-39, 87.0% had a child with a disability, and 51.9% had a child with an intellectual disability. The mean total scores of the mothers were 26.71 ± 8.80 for the Zarit Caregiving Burden Scale and 27.00 ± 11.35 for the Perceived Stress Scale. There is a difference between the mothers' age, education level, income level and the type of disability of their child and the Zarit Caregiving Burden scale score average; It was determined that there was a significant difference between the place of residence and the number of disabled children they had and the average score of the Perceived Stress Scale. A positive correlation was found between Zarit Caregiving Burden Scale scores and Perceived Stress Scale scores of the mothers (p < 0.05).

APPLICATION TO PRACTICE: The study revealed that mothers with children with special needs experienced higher levels of stress as their care burden increased. Providing economic assistance and informing and training mothers about the care of children with special needs were recommended to reduce the care burden of mothers with children with special needs.

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