THE ATTITUDES OF ORTHODOX JEWISH MOTHERS TOWARDS THEIR MENTALLY RETARDED CHILDREN
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This investigation examined the attitude of orthodox Jewish mothers with reference to various aspects relating to raising and living with a mentally retarded child. Data was collected regarding the differences between orthodox mothers of mentally retarded children and orthodox mothers who did not have mentally retarded children in their families with respect to four questions: (1) the attitudes of the mothers towards their children; (2) their attitudes towards disabled persons; (3) the attitudes of the mothers on various factors of child development and child rearing; (4) the mothers' attitudes towards religion and philosophy of life. Questionnaires including four previous validated scales were mailed to mothers in the experimental and control groups. Responses were tabulated according to standard statistical procedures. Among the salient findings of the study are: (1) mothers of mentally retarded children have a poorer attitude towards their retarded children than do mothers of normal children towards their children; (2) mothers of mentally retarded children have a better attitude than mothers of normal children towards disabled persons; (3) the presence of a mentally retarded child in the family is not a factor in the mothers' attitudes towards selected principles of child development and child rearing; (4) whereas mothers who do not have mentally retarded children develop better attitudes towards religion as they grow older, the attitudes of mothers of mentally retarded children towards religion become poorer with increased age; (5) for both groups of mothers, the better their attitude towards religion the more positive are their attitudes towards their children. The implications of these findings for parents of mentally retarded children, for the Orthodox Jewish community and for mental health professionals were discussed.