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Title: An exploration of some potential protective factors for children living with a parent who is in contact with mental health
Author: Boyle, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 5965
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2000
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The children of people with severe mental health problems are considered to be a high-risk group because of elevated rates of emotional and behavioural problems in childhood, increased exposure to a variety of other known risk factors, and poor adjustment in adult life. Amongst the many possible mechanisms mediating between the mental health difficulties of the parent and the adjustment problems of the child various aspects of parenting occur repeatedly in the literature. Research in the field of childhood resilience indicates the importance of a good, secure relationship in protecting children exposed to various types of risk or challenge to their development. Another commonly researched protective factor for children is social support and there have been suggestions in the literature that early attachment to the mother is the precursor of perceived social support later on. The goals of this study were both service related and theoretical. From the point of view of delivering services to this group of children an audit of the active cases of the adult community mental health teams in an inner London borough was carried out to provide a description of the children under 17 years of age who were living with parents who were receiving support from these teams. A Subsample of the children between 8 and 16 years (N = 20) participated in the second phase of the study looking at the theoretical relationships described above but also to give their opinions on what could be changed to improve their lives. The section of the study exploring factors associated with the adjustment of this group had a within-group, cross-sectional design and was based on three self-report questionnaires of the children's relationships with adults; perceived social support; and, adjustment. The service-related findings illustrate the lack of systematic recording of the offspring of adult clients and suggest that the children themselves express needs similar to other children their age and do not necessarily look to services to fulfil those needs. The more theoretical section of the study indicated that the presence of one good relationship with an adult was not related to the children's adjustment. Post-hoc analyses suggested that a very good relationship with the mother (rather than a'good-enough' relationship with an adult) was more closely related to children's social adjustment. In addition, the overlap between indicators of attachment and perceived social support was largely confined to perceptions of support from family members with only a tendency for this to be generalised to other support providers in the child's network.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available