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Title: An exploration into parents' experiences of adolescent mental health difficulties
Author: Jones, Ceri
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 2638
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2016
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Research has shown that having a child who experiences mental health difficulties can be highly stressful for parents and may lead to feelings associated with loss and grief. Currently little is known about how best to support these parents’ needs. Studies from a variety of fields suggest that the ability to find meaning in stressful life events is associated with decreased distress. The current study therefore sought to explore the ways in which a sample of parents whose adolescent children were experiencing mental health difficulties made sense of their experiences. Individual unstructured interviews were carried out with a sample of parents whose children were inpatients at an adolescent psychiatric hospital. A total of eight parents took part in the study, four male and four female. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic and structural narrative analyses. The results suggested that parents varied in their extent and use of meaning making, with some able to find positive meaning in their child’s difficulties and others struggling to make sense of it. Four master themes emerged across participants; unpredictability and ambiguity, difficulties identifying mental health difficulties, difficulties accepting the gravity of the situation, and benefits. The findings suggest that parents would benefit from having the ambiguity of their child’s difficulties acknowledged. Interventions aimed at aiding meaning making should be offered to parents who struggle to make sense of their child’s difficulties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF0076.5 Psychology research ; HQ0755.7 Parents. Parenthood ; RJ0503 Adolescent psychiatry