Parenting and psychosis: An experience sampling methodology study investigating the inter-relationship between stress from parenting and positive psychotic symptoms.
Radley J., Barlow J., Johns LC.
OBJECTIVES: There is a strong association between stress and psychotic symptoms, and this study examined the bidirectional nature of this relationship in parents with psychosis, with negative affect as a mediator and a range of other psychosocial factors included as covariates. It also examined whether stress from parenting had a larger impact on psychosis than non-parenting stress. DESIGN: The study used a within-participants repeated measures design, using experience sampling methodology (ESM). ESM is a self-report surveying technique completed over an intensive longitudinal period. Participants completed six surveys a day, for 10 days. METHODS: Thirty-five participants with psychosis who were a parent to a child between the ages of 2 and 16 took part. Study phones alerted participants to complete surveys by beeping at semi-random intervals over 10 days. Multi-level modelling was used with surveys at Level-1 and participants at Level-2. Predictor variables were time-lagged in order to infer directionality. RESULTS: Parenting stress was found to predict psychotic symptoms, and this relationship was mediated by negative affect. The reverse direction was also confirmed. Few of the additional psychosocial factors were found to have a significant impact on the models' estimations. Parenting stress was not found to have a larger impact on psychosis than other sources of stress. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides further evidence of the bidirectional relationship between stress and psychosis in the context of parenting. Further research should explore if parenting stress plays a unique role in predicting psychotic symptoms by comparing parents and non-parents with psychosis.