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Strength use of adult offspring to cope with PMI while growing up : Which strengths did adult offspring use to cope with parental mental illness?: A qualitative interview study

Kittel, Julynn (2019) Strength use of adult offspring to cope with PMI while growing up : Which strengths did adult offspring use to cope with parental mental illness?: A qualitative interview study.

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Abstract:Background The impact of mental illness of parents on their children is often neglected. If investigated, negative consequences of parental mental illness (PMI) on children is in the focus. Emerging popularity of positive psychology counters the emphasis on maladjusted aspects towards human resilience, human strength, and optimal functioning. Research in this domain has revealed that children facing adversities, such as PMI, often overcome risk and develop into resilient adults. Major contribution to bouncing back from adversity is the use of personal strengths. Therefore, this study contributes to the paucity of strength-based research in the context of children growing up with PMI, with the aiding research question: Which strengths did adult offspring use to cope with parental mental illness while growing up? Methods Both convenience and snowball sampling was used for recruitment. A semi-structured interview was conducted with seven adult children that had been growing up with PMI. The interview focused on strength use as a way of coping. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and iterative phenomenological analysis steps were taken. Both deductive and inductive approaches were used to develop the final coding scheme. Results Analysing the interviews, two emerged categories highlighted the importance of nine strengths. The first category namely strengths used to cope directly with PMI consisted of the strengths reflectivity, optimism, caring, serenity, and empathy. The second category namely strengths used to indirectly cope with the ramifications of PMI consisted of autonomy, seeking social connections, seeking an own space, and taking initiative. Conclusion The two diverging categories concerning strengths use have highlighted the importance of both direct and indirect coping with PMI. Strengths supporting direct coping had shown to be important to make sense of aggravating circumstances and to maintain the relationship with the parent. Strengths used to indirectly cope with PMI have shown to be crucial for the offspring to foster personal development and growth despite negative effects of PMI.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/78287
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