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Title: Living with a parent with mental health needs what children say
Author: Hadleigh, Liana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8459
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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The parenting role of people with mental health needs has historically been neglected by both the research literature and mental health services. With developments in societal attitudes and mental health policies, recognition of people with mental health needs as parents and interest in this area has increased. The literature that followed has focused on the negative outcomes for children with a parent with mental health needs. More recent developments have given consideration to the children who do not experience negative outcomes and factors that facilitate this. Few studies have asked children about their experiences and those that have mainly focus on adolescents and those identified as young carers. Children are not a homogenous group and a mainly adolescent perspective in the literature cannot be assumed to represent younger children's experiences. This study aimed to understand how younger children talk about their experience of living with a parent with mental health needs and if they identified any positive aspects to this. It was hoped this would contribute to the expanding literature that has explored strengths within these families. Seven children aged between seven and eleven years old were interviewed. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The following four themes were identified from the children's experiences; making sense of mental health needs, the direct impact of mental health needs, making use of relationships and adaptation to parental mental health needs. Children developed their own explanations of parental mental health needs and used narratives based on "normal" understandings to manage the impact of these on them. Family relationships were both strained and a source of support for children and children played an important role in helping their family adapt to parental mental health needs. Implications for services and further research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available