Fathers' Experiences of Caring for an Adult Child with Psychosis: a Qualitative Study
Aim: Previous research has looked at parental experiences of caring, which has highlighted the rewarding nature of caring but also the difficulties associated with this role. However, within these studies the majority of parents have been mothers, meaning little is known about fathers’ experiences. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore how fathers describe and make sense of their experiences of caring for an adult child with psychosis. Method: A purposive sampling method was used to recruit fathers from local carer groups and forums. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were carried out to capture information about paternal experiences of caregiving. Research questions encompassed ‘What sense fathers had made of their child’s psychosis?’, ‘How their child’s psychosis affected their relationship with them over time?’, and ‘How being a father affected their caring role?’ Interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Seven participants were interviewed including six biological fathers and one step-father. Results: Five superordinate themes emerged: ‘Father vs. carer’, ‘Change in quality of the relationship with child’, ‘To share or not to share, ‘Acceptance is a struggle’, and ‘Mental health services: inconsistency vs. luck’. These consisted of fourteen sub-ordinate themes. The themes illustrated that participants did not see being a carer as a separate role, but part of being a parent. They were just as invested and involved in supporting their child as the mothers, and were willing to go any lengths to do this, even if at a personal emotional and physical cost to themselves. Conclusions: It is important that services reconsider their perceptions of fathers, how they involve them and offer interventions to them (both individual therapy and family therapy). General Practitioners can be more actively involved in checking in with fathers, signposting them to support and resources.
MetadataShow full item record
The following license files are associated with this item: