The Needs and Experiences of Parents with Psychosis: A Qualitative Interview Study
Radley J., Barlow J., Johns LC.
AbstractOver a third of individuals diagnosed with a psychotic disorder are also a parent. The symptoms of psychosis and side effects of antipsychotic medication can impact on parents’ awareness of the needs of their children and, at times, the parent may be emotionally and practically unavailable to their child. This study assessed the expressed emotion of parents with psychosis and used qualitative methods to investigate their needs and experience in order to identify how best to support this parent group. Twelve parents with a diagnosed psychotic disorder and with a child aged between 3 and 11 years took part in semi-structured interviews. The majority of parents displayed high levels of warmth and low levels of negativity towards their child. Four themes were generated using reflexive thematic analysis: (1) the impact of psychosis on parenting, (2) the need to protect their child, (3) the need to feel normal, and (4) the impact of parenting stress on psychosis. These results showed how parents want to protect their children and feel normal despite experiencing psychosis. They also highlighted the cyclical relationship between parenting stress and psychotic symptoms, whereby psychotic symptoms can impact on a parent’s capacity to care for their child and parenting stress can exacerbate psychotic symptoms.