Mother–Child Relationships Following a Disaster: The Experiences of Turkish Mothers Living in a Container City After the 2011 Van Earthquake
- 117 Downloads
In this qualitative study, informed by ethnography and phenomenology, we aimed to explore the impact of mass trauma on mother–child relationships. Specifically, affected relational processes that might interrupt healthy parenting practices and child behavioral and emotional outcomes were explored. Fifteen Turkish mothers exposed to a massive earthquake in 2011 and relocated to a container city in the Van province, Turkey, were interviewed for this study in 2013. Data analysis was informed by elements of Spradley’s Developmental Research Sequence (DRS) and interpretive phenomenological analysis. Findings indicated that psychological trauma resulting from the earthquake and consequent displacement disrupted and exacerbated mothers’ ability to cope with distress. This, in turn, influenced mothers’ ability to manage their negative emotions and resulted in more yelling, beatings, and higher aggression towards their children as well as a lack of positive emotional and physical engagement. Mothers perceived their own struggles as increasing their children’s disruptive behaviors, such as being less compliant, becoming emotionally distant and modeling mothers’ negative behaviors. The counseling mothers received at the local mental health center supported mothers in building greater physical and emotional connection with their children, regulating their negative emotions and gaining effective parenting skills to discipline their children. The current study represents a preliminary step towards understanding parenting experiences of Turkish mothers in mass trauma contexts.
KeywordsChild outcomes Disaster Family Parenting Psychological trauma
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest pertaining to this submission to the Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy.
- About Van earthquake. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.afad.gov.tr/ar/9845/About-Van-Earthquake.
- Ballard, J., Wieling, E., & Forgatch, M. (2017). Feasibility of implementation of a parenting intervention with Karen refugees resettled from Burma. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.Google Scholar
- Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W. (2007). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Gewirtz, A. H., Polusny, M. A., DeGarmo, D. S., Khaylis, A., & Erbes, C. R. (2010). Posttraumatic stress symptoms among National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq: Associations with parenting behaviors and couple adjustment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(5), 599–610. doi: 10.1037/a0020571.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Kelley, M. L., Self-Brown, S., Le, B., Bosson, J. V., Hernandez, B. C., & Gordon, A. T. (2010). Predicting posttraumatic stress symptoms in children following Hurricane Katrina: A prospective analysis of the effect of parental distress and parenting practices. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(5), 582–590. doi: 10.1002/jts.20573.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Mogil, C., Hajal, N., Garcia, E., Kiff, C., Paley, B., Milburn, N., & Lester, P. (2015). FOCUS for early childhood: A virtual home visiting program for military families with young children. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 37(3), 199–208. doi: 10.1007/s10591-015-9327-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.Google Scholar
- Saul, J. (2014). Collective trauma, collective healing: Promoting community resilience in the aftermath of disaster. NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Basic principles, protocols and procedures. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretive phenomenological analysis: Theory, method, and research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Spradley, J. (1979). The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
- Sumer, N., Karanci, A. N., Berument, S. K., & Gunes, H. (2005). Personal resources, coping self-efficacy, and quake exposure as predictors of psychological distress following the 1999 earthquake in Turkey. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 18(4), 331–342. doi: 10.1002/jts.20032.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Turkish Statistical Institute (2015). Istatistiklerle kadin. Retrieved from http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=18619.
- Weine, S., Muzurovic, N., Kulauzovic, Y., Besic, S., Lezic, A., Mujagic, A., Muzurovic, J., Spahovic, D., Feetham, S., Ware, N., Knafl, K., & Pavkovic, I. (2004). Family consequences of refugee trauma. Family Process, 43(3), 147–160. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2004.04302002.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wieling, E., Mehus, C., Yumbul, C., Möllerherm, J., Ertl, V., Laura, A., Forgatch, M., Neuner, F., & Catani, C. (2015b). Preparing the field for feasibility testing of a parenting intervention for war-affected mothers in Northern Uganda. Family Process. doi: 10.1111/famp.12189. Advance online publication.PubMedGoogle Scholar