Health promotion for immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities: Towards a transformative approach


  • Luz Maria Vazquez York University
  • Nida Mustafa University of Toronto
  • Nazilla Khanlou York University
  • Attia Khan University of Toronto
  • Gail Jones Neighbours Allied for Better Opportunities in Residential Support
  • Jennifer Osei-Appiah Sodiya Peel District School Board
  • Mahdieh Dastjerdi York University
  • Louise Kinross Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital



Background: High societal expectations that involve idealized and  labour-intensive mothering are a source of stress, anxiety, guilt and frustration for women. Immigrant mothers caring for children with developmental disabilities are disproportionately burdened with health inequities. Study goals: The overall goal of our study was to examine health promotion practices of immigrant mothers with children with developmental disabilities using the Health Promotion Activities Scale (HPAS). Methods: Twenty-eight mothers of children with developmental disabilities were interviewed using the HPAS. A grounded theory approach was utilized to analyze the qualitative data. Results: Immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities’ engagement in health promoting activities is influenced by their role as primary caregivers, the gendered nature of mothering, non-Western views on health promotion, mothers’ burden from inequities and structural barriers pertaining to funding,  disability, and migration status. The responses on the HPAS also underscore motherhood as a social construct with embedded assumptions and social expectations related to role and responsibilities that requires them to be “good” mothers. Discussion and Conclusion: There is need to incorporate transformative health promotion approaches in research and practice that consider mothers’ multicultural contexts.  The intersections of motherhood,  disability, gendered role expectations and migration need to be taken into account.


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How to Cite

Vazquez , L. M., Mustafa, N., Khanlou, N., Khan, A. ., Jones, G., Osei-Appiah Sodiya, J. ., Dastjerdi, M. ., & Kinross, L. . (2021). Health promotion for immigrant mothers of children with developmental disabilities: Towards a transformative approach. INYI Journal.