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

Siu Mui CHAN, Ying Suet Heidi CHAU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
parents
Parents
Mental Health
mental health
Anger
adolescent
anger
Interviews
Taboo
Shame
Love
Mentally Ill Persons
shame
interview
Child Development
Social Work
Research
loyalty

Citation

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.

Keywords

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