장애가족을 위한 사회적 지원의 목적은 가족 개개인과 가족 전체의 사회적 관계망을 형성시키고 향상시키기 위한 것이다. 사회적 지원의 기본적인 역할을 통해 가족구성원들에게 정서적, 심리적 지원을 제공하고, 이와 관련된 정보와 자원들을 공유할 수 있도록 하여, 장애가족 구성원들의 내적 · 외적인 스트레스를 감소시키는 것이다. 따라서 본 연구에서는 장애아동 가족이 지니고 있는 사회적 지원을 파악하여 가족의 기능과 적응이 긍정적인 방향으로 나아갈 수 있도록 하는 가족지원프로그램 개발을 위한 기초연구로서 장애아동 어머니의 사회적 관계망을 조사 연구한 결과는 다음과 같다. 첫째, 장애아동 어머니가 자녀를 양육하면서 도움이나 지원을 받고 있는 사회적 관계망의 크기는 평균 9.4명이었다. 둘째, 장애아동 어머니가 자녀를 양육하면서 현재 지원을 받고 있다고 지각한 사회적 관계망 유형순위는 남편, 학교 및 교육기관 선생님, 친정부모, 친정식구 순이었다. 셋째, 장애아동 어머니들이 장애자녀를 양육하면서 지원받고 싶은 사회적 관계망 유형은 시부모, 시댁식구, 학교 및 교육기관 선생님, 국가 순이었다. 넷째, 장애아동 어머니들이 원하는 사회적 지원방법은 정보적 지원, 정서적 지원, 물질적 지원 순이었다. 다섯째, 장애아동 부모의 친인척, 친구 및 이웃의 장애아동에 대한 장애인지점수는 4.23에서 3.24이었다.
Majority of the previous researches have paid more attention to educational resource network, family coping strategies, and financial assistance as major social support for family of children with disabilities. Each culture, however, could have different needs of parenting-related social support for their children, as its frame of reference is different from the others. Motivated by the consideration of diverse cultural references, this study aimed to investigate Korean mothers needs of parenting-related social support for their children with disabilities. The purposes of the study were as follows. First, the study was to see the size of their parenting-related social network and key network members. Second, it was to see what and/or who played the key role as parenting-related social support. Third, it was to see that what kind of parenting-related social support the mothers needed most. The study surveyed the mothers needs on parenting-related social support using a questionnaire consisted of 30 items, which were answered by 400 mothers whose children enrolled in special schools. The participants were sampled from a nation-wide similar socioeconomic group. Data was analyzed by mean of scores for social network size, and Multi-Response Analysis for key network members and for their longing social support. The result revealed the followings. First, the size of social network for the mothers was 9.4 people and they listed their key network members the husband first, then the school teachers, the mother`s parents, other relatives on the maternal side and so forth, in the order of social support amount. Second, the mothers listed their longing social support from the parents-in-law first, then other relatives-in-law, the education-related professionals, the government and so forth in the order of need. Third, mothers answered information support first, and emotional support counted above financial support. In sum, the size of parenting-related social network for mothers of children with disabilities was 9.4 people, which was larger than that for typically developing children. They relied in good part of on parenting-related social support from the maternal side rather than from family-in-law, longing for information and emotional support than financial one. Findings from this study suggest that family counseling programs, emphasizing on supporting them with emotional coping strategies with family-in-law and parenting-related information in their languages, are needed for Korean mothers of children with disabilities.