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Title: Making sense of growing up with a parent with psychosis
Author: Parkins, Melanie Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 6478
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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Introduction: Research into the experiences of having grown up with a parent with psychosis is limited and tends to focus on the detrimental impact. Therefore, this study aimed to find out how adults who grew up with a parent with psychosis made sense of these experiences as a child and during adulthood. It was hoped that if participants were given the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences it might allow for a broader perspective to be presented. Method: Five participants who grew up with a parent with psychosis were interviewed using a semi structured interview approach. The interviews were transcribed, and then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. This analysis was carried out for each participant before conducting a group analysis to identify major and subordinate themes. Results: Four major themes were identified: “People don’t want to care for me”; I’m different; What if people find out?; Finding my identity, with thirteen subordinate themes. The findings indicated that participants felt neglected and uncared for by their parent with psychosis but also by the other people in their lives. Participants described feeling different from their peers, alone with their experiences and they wondered whether they themselves would develop unusual experiences. The research identified that to increase their sense of belonging the participants attempt to find people who they see as different from others but similar to themselves. The findings also gave insight into participants’ feelings of shame and their fear of humiliation if other people were to find out about their parents’ experiences. The research also found that the participants were able to identify ways in which their experiences had negatively impacted on them and changes which they wanted to make. Two of the participants took the opportunity to try out some of these changes between the interviews. Participants reported positive growth from their experiences but their apparent need to find the positive, possibly in order to make the experience more meaningful, is reflected on. Discussion: The findings were considered in relation to psychological theory in an attempt to understand the participants’ experiences further. This study adds to the literature on the difficulties of growing up with a parent who experiences psychosis but provides a new element by considering the significance of developing positive growth from these experiences. The strengths and limitations of this study were considered, along with the clinical implications and areas for future research.
Supervisor: Martin, Carol ; Gupta, Anjula Sponsor: Max Hamilton Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available