The Socio-cultural Interpretation of Parental Stress of Chinese Parents of Children with Dyslexia: Implications for Social Work Practice

T. M. Simon Chan*, Y. H. Kitty Mo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Children with special education needs have become a topical issue in contemporary Chinese context. However, there is scant knowledge about the experiences of Chinese parents with children with dyslexia. Current study explores their experiences in today’s educational and societal context in Mainland China. Twenty parents (N = 20) of children formally diagnosed with dyslexia were interviewed and data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Main findings revealed four categories of themes related to parental stress, namely: characteristics of children and study problems for children, daily responsibilities and maternal role inequality, educator’s power and control, and social comparisons and promoting a blaming culture. Coping methods used by parents were identified via internal coping resources, e.g., being more sensitive to one’s own emotions; placing more value on the “other strengths” of children; using cultural and religious beliefs to current situations; utilizing external coping resources; enhancing support from spouses; more active communication with teachers. A framework called the Coping of the Vicious Cycle of Parental Stress is adopted to analyze the results. These findings extend existing knowledge about social constructions of Asian parental stress, and power and existing control issues in school environments. Implications for social work practice were noted which included using support groups as the foundations for reaching parents; making use of more relational coping recourses by seeking external multi-dimensional inputs; and developing alternative coping resources such as public awareness. We contact that social workers are well positioned in both schools and community health care centers to take a leadership role in working with these at-risk children and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131–141
Number of pages11
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Culture
  • Dyslexia
  • Mainland China
  • Parental stress
  • Social work practice


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