An exploration into parents' experiences of adolescent mental health difficulties

Jones, Ceri (2016) An exploration into parents' experiences of adolescent mental health difficulties. D.Clin.Psych. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parent, Adolescent, Psychiatric, Narrative, Meaning
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0076.5 Psychology research
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ0755.7 Parents. Parenthood
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ0499 Mental disorders. Child psychiatry > RJ0503 Adolescent psychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Mrs Kathy Chaney
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2016 08:13
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2017 15:55
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/14775

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00