Scholars across several disciplines, including communication, disability studies, and family studies, have acknowledged the potential impact of disability on family life, noting that disability is not an individual experience but a family experience. Research on families with people with disabilities indicates that the nature and severity of a disability affects how the presence of disability impacts families in different ways. Communication among family members is consequential for how family members cope with disability. Research on disabilities and family relationships has investigated how disabilities in families affect overall family functioning, marital relationships, parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, and relationships with extended family members.

Several factors have emerged in research as important to consider when examining associations between disabilities and overall family functioning. These factors include the type and ...

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