Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Luft, Rachel E.

Second Advisor

Jenkins, Pamela

Third Advisor

Raabe, Phyllis H.


Mothers of children with disabilities face a variety of problems compared to other mothers, but their experiences are not universal. This thesis provides a critical analysis of caregiving and disability by examining the experiences of a group of low-income African American mothers with children with disabilities. It explores the impacts of race, class, gender, and disability on mothers' experiences in the context of conflicting employment and caregiving demands for poor women. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with ten low-income African American mothers of children with disabilities, I illustrate how the struggles of raising a child with a disability are amplified in the face of race and class inequalities. As a result, these women redefine the notion of personal responsibility and employ a series of survival strategies.


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