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Title: Experiences of parenting a child with an anxiety disorder : a secondary analysis of qualitative data
Author: Evdoka-Burton, Georgina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 3184
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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A significant number of children and adolescents experience mental health difficulties, yet most young people do not access professional support (Merikangas et al., 2011). A systematic review of the qualitative literature was conducted to understand what children and young people perceive to be the barriers and/or facilitators to accessing help for mental health problems. The findings indicate several factors are important to young people when experiencing mental health difficulties, including the important role parents play in supporting young people and accessing treatment when necessary. It is therefore essential that more focus is placed on understanding parents’ experiences and supporting parents when their child has a mental health difficulty. Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent mental health difficulties experienced by children (Green, McGinnity, Meltzer, Ford & Goodman, 2005). Qualitative approaches have been used to explore the experiences of parents who have children with mental health difficulties, however no published research to date focuses on parenting a child with an anxiety disorder. The aim of the current research is to explore the experience of parenting a child (aged 7-11 years) meeting diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 parents sampled from a community population. A secondary analysis of the data was conducted using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Four main themes were developed: parents feel ‘helpless’ in the face of their child’s anxiety disorder and describe the ‘emotional and demanding’ nature of their role. The ‘hard work and effort’ invested in understanding and managing their child’s difficulties was also identified as a theme. Despite the demanding nature of parenting a child with an anxiety disorder, parents also described a sense of ‘hopefulness and progression’ about the future and social connection with others. Overall, the findings of this study indicate that there are significant difficulties involved with parenting a child with an anxiety disorder, which parents attempt to manage in a number of ways. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
Supervisor: Lawrence, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available