Understanding the Influences of Parenting a Child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder on the Marital Relationship: A Phenomenological Study

Document Type Article


Using a phenomenological framework this qualitative study explored the experience of parenting a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and its influence on the marital relationship. Eight intact married couples with children previously diagnosed with ODD were interviewed to assess each couple’s communication, non-sexual and sexual intimacy, conflict management, conflict avoidance, parenting disagreement related conflict, religious faith and practice, and social/recreational activities as it related to parenting an ODD child. The results of the study confirmed that the couples perceived several negative effects which included disagreement over parenting, being critical of or blaming spouse for parenting difficulties, increased stress levels, disruption of religious faith or practice, poor communication, reduction of sexual and nonsexual intimacy, restricted social activity, and increased levels of resentment. The couple’s identified three positive effects that included being forced to “be on the same page,” being better parents for the other children in the home, and strengthening of religious faith.