Parent perceptions comparing times of parental mental wellness and illness using a family functioning model

Natasha Ausa Upton Marston, Darryl John Maybery, Andrea Erika Reupert

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7 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-256
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • family processes
  • mental illness
  • parent-child relations
  • qualitative

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