N. Marston, D. Maybery, A. Reupert
Sep 2, 2018
Journal of Family Studies
ABSTRACT This qualitative study ascertained how parents with an affective disorder perceived their family to function during times with and without symptoms of their mental health concern. Fourteen parents with depression and/or anxiety responded to theoretically derived questions about family functioning when mentally well and ill. The data were subject to thematic content analysis, in conjunction with being coded using seven a priori codes originating from the domains within a family functioning model. Four identified themes pertained to enjoyment of parenting, mental health concerns as a barrier to parenting and family interaction, psychological outcomes of parenting with mental health concerns and incentives to focus on parenting and family functioning. At least 12 parents reported three domains of family functioning (communication, role performance, affective involvement) changed between times of mental illness and wellness. Some parents perceived changes to family values and norms, and approximately half reported that affective expression, control of family members and overall task achievement was affected. This study may deepen understanding of family experiences and parent interpretations of their experience, and inform the design of interventions.