Everyday life when growing up with a mother with an intellectual or developmental disability: Four retrospective life-stories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The voices of those who have grown up in a family with maternal intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) are valuable for gaining an understanding of their situation, which is essential in order to be able to support these families and avoid potentially detrimental situations. Aim: The study aim was to describe the experience of having grown up in a family where the mother has an IDD, with a focus on everyday life and perceived health consequences in adult life. Method: A qualitative method with retrospective narrative interviews and narrative content analysis was chosen. In-depth interviews were performed with four women who had experiences of a childhood with maternal IDD. Findings: Four themes emerged: Living under adverse circumstances; Dealing with one’s everyday life situation; Receiving insufficient support and wishing for more; and The echo from childhood into adult life. The findings revealed a distressing childhood, characterized by neglect, abuse, anxiety, and overburdening responsibilities, and also endeavors to keep the family situation a secret, while at the same time wanting the adult world to react. Discussion: The findings can hopefully stimulate occupational therapists and other professionals to more effectively identify the situation of these children and provide support to prevent adverse future health conditions and poor well-being.


  • Ingrid Weiber
  • Per Anders Tengland
  • Johan Sanmartin Berglund
  • Mona Eklund
External organisations
  • Malmö University
  • Blekinge Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • activity, Childhood experiences, developmental disability, intellectual disability, maternal, qualitative interviews, support
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018 Nov 26
Publication categoryResearch