Parents with Schizophrenia – Insights from notifications of suspected child abuse and neglect

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Abstract

Children of parents with acute symptoms of schizophrenia are
at high risk of being exposed to adverse environmental circumstances
known to predict future mental and physical illness. To ensure a healthy
development of children human services must address the needs of
children of patients with schizophrenia. In this study, notifications of suspected child abuse and neglect was used to elicit difficulties in parental role functioning in schizophrenia patients. Qualitative text analysis was used to elicit common themes in 49 written documents from social workers at mental health centres expressing concerns about the wellbeing of children of patients with schizophrenia. We found the most recurring themes to be “parents’ delusions”,
“parents being absorbed in their private reality”, “parents’ distress as a
result of symptoms”, “fierce or violent scenes in the home” and “burden on
other caretakers”. The results signified that children’s needs are not
properly met or acknowledged. This was due to a parent’s current
difficulties in fulfilling their caregiving role in periods with experiences of
severe symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychosis
ISSN1752-2439
Publication statusSubmitted - 2016

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