A parent’s perspective of the bidirectional impact of mental illness in families

Michael Frederick Naughton, Darryl Maybery, Melinda Goodyear


Objective: Recent research has found over 70% of children attending a mental health service also have a parent with a mental illness. Research on the impact of mental illness in families focuses primarily on how parental mental illness impacts on children. What is not understood is the experience of parents and children where both have a mental illness. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of parents where both a child and a parent have a mental illness.
Methods: Thirty-seven parents were interviewed using a narrative design to determine their personal and family experiences. Interviews were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis with a number of themes highlighted.
Results: Themes particular to this family type were: impact of parental mental illness; specific strategies; bidirectional impacts of mental illness; and intergenerational factors. Also raised were supports parents would have liked. From the narrative of these parents the challenges of families, where both a parent and a child have a mental illness, are highlighted.
Conclusions: It is from these interviews, that awareness of clinicians can be raised, and more effective, well-thought-out interventions put in place. Interventions that take account of the bidirectional influences of mental illness will be more successful in meeting the needs of all members of a family. People do not operate in isolation and providing a family focused approach is an essential first step in helping people manage where mental illness is a prevalent factor for different family members.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/cns.v7n1p46


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'Sciedupress.com' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.