Growing up with a parent with schizophrenia: What children say they need

Siu Mui CHAN, Ying Suet Heidi CHAU

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the rich literature on the effects of parental mental health problems on child development, the needs of children of mentally ill parents have been overlooked in both research and services. This study investigated the needs of a neglected group, namely Chinese adolescent children of parents with schizophrenia, in order to gain insights into the design of programmes for these adolescents. In-depth interviews were conducted individually with five Chinese adolescent girls whose mother or father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Analysis of the interview data revealed four common themes: stigma and discrimination; mixed feelings of love and anger; the role of being a carer; and positive gains. The results shed light on the importance of taking cultural context into consideration when providing services for these children and further conducting research in this area. Although mental health problems are regarded as a taboo and associated with shame in Chinese culture, these children, out of a respect for their parents (‘filial piety’1), showed a strong sense of loyalty to their parents and suppressed their anger and sorrow for their parents' sake. Implications for social services for children whose parents have mental health problems and suggestions for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2010 Pier Professional Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-42
JournalJournal of Children's Services
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Chan, S. M., & Chau, Y. S. H. (2010). Growing up with a parent with schizophrenia: What children say they need. Journal of Children's Services, 5(4), 31-42.


  • Schizophrenia
  • Mental health problems
  • Parents
  • Stigma
  • Young carer
  • Chinese culture


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