Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Athena Ramos, PhD, MBA, MS, CPM

Second Committee Member

Dejun Su, PhD

Third Committee Member

Melissa Tibbits, PhD

Fourth Committee Member

Sarah Swanson, MPH (Ex-officio member)


Caring for a child with developmental disabilities can be challenging, exhausting, and overwhelming for many parents. The level of care that a child with disabilities requires can be intense, resulting in stress and negatively impacting caregivers' mental health. Many Hispanic/Latino mothers of children with developmental disabilities are not practicing self-care or using support services; thus, the mothers may experience high stress, depression, and anxiety. Previous research studies have found adverse psychological effects such as high levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. This quantitative study sought to identify the gaps and barriers Hispanic/Latino mothers of children with developmental disabilities encounter when practicing self-care and accessing support services and the potential adverse mental health outcomes (N = 75). The results showed that the Hispanic/Latino mothers of children with developmental disabilities are practicing self-care but are using limited support services. In addition, there was a significant correlation between parental stress and anxiety, r = .427, p< 0.01, and between parental stress and depression, r = .500, p< 0.01. Moreover, a significant relationship between self-care and legal status was identified, χ2 (1, N = 75) = 5.21, p = .02. Mothers who had no legal status were significantly less likely to report practicing self-care compared to those who were U.S. citizens, residents, or were in process for residency (62.2% vs. 85%). Other findings showed that Hispanic/Latino mothers encounter more gaps and barriers when looking for support and resources to practice self-care. Implications from this study are that more awareness of the available resources that may help mothers to practice self-care is needed. Also, new policies must be created to improve and implement resources and language accessibility to support the Hispanic/Latino mothers of children with disabilities.