The Structure and Function of Social Networks of Mothers of Young Children With Disabilities

Document Type



The current exploratory study examines the structure and function of social support for mothers of very young children (under 24 months) with a range of disabilities who are receiving Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C early intervention services. The psychological well-being and social networks of 88 mothers in one state were assessed. Associations between network characteristics and maternal stress were found for the total netword, along with a connection between lowered depression and concrete support from the spouse/partner and lowered stress and emotional support from professional helpers. This study mirrors some findings of similar studies of mothers with older children with disabilities but uniquely found spouse/partner support to be prominent. Implications for both research and ealy intervention practictioners are considered.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Kilburn, J. E., & Shapiro, C. J. (2018). The structure and function of social networks of mothers of young children with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 39(4), 250–259.