Foster carers' perceptions of planned respite care and the perceived psychosocial effects for foster children.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
A qualitative study was carried out to explore foster carers’ perceptions of respite care and their perceptions of the psychosocial effects of this service for the children in their care. In order to achieve this aim an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach was utilised for data collection and analysis. This yielded six themes: carers’ perceptions being influenced by variants of the respite care environment, respite care being beneficial and necessary, concerns about agency provision of respite, factors carers attribute as contributing to its psychosocial effects on foster children, the observed psychosocial effects on foster children, and ways respite care could be improved. An additional finding was also reported, as foster carers’ views of fostering and their foster children appeared to be a modifying variable influencing carers’ perceptions of respite care. These findings illustrated that there are differential effects of respite for carers compared with foster children in some cases, resulting in a tension between meeting carers’ needs and the needs of the children in their care. Comparisons and corroboration of findings from existing literature is included in the discussion as well as the implications of these findings and future research directions.