BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Date of Submission



Dr. Ayesha Zia, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Research has shown the effect of caregiving burden and stress on parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and how this experience of parenting can be influenced by the external social support received from familial and non-familial sources. This paper hence aims to explore the experiences of mothers of children with Down Syndrome in Karachi, Pakistan, with the research questions lending focus on the supportive and non-supportive factors that influence the experience of social support received from familial and non-familial sources, the subjective experience of stress in mothers’ lives and its impact on their physical health, and recommendations of parents and field experts in improving quality and quantity of social support for these families. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 8 mothers of children with Down Syndrome. Thematic analysis was conducted on the data collected to generate relevant themes. Results showed that mothers experienced negligent and poor treatment from schools, healthcare providers, and extended relatives, stemming from stigma and lack of awareness surrounding Down Syndrome, and a neglectful attitude from their husbands. They relied mostly on welfare organizations for social support, reportedly receiving no governmental assistance. Lastly, mothers experienced high levels of caregiver burden and stress and lack of self-care, which affected their physical health. An expert interview was also conducted with a field expert to curate a set of recommendations, which included governmental provision of concessions in schooling and healthcare, proper implementation of disability law, and increased awareness campaigns.



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