An article in the American National Association of Social Workers Journal looks at the ‘Psychosocial Outcomes for Adult Children of Parents with Severe Mental Illnesses: Demographic and Clinical History Predictors.’
Numerous studies have established the at-risk status of children whose parents have a mental illness, few have examined those children in adulthood. The studies that have been conducted are primarily epidemiological, indicating a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with a mental illness than the general population. (Thanks, Mum.)
The data limitations are addressed in the paper.
Children of parents with mental illness are at risk of psychiatric and behavioral problems. Few studies have investigated the psychosocial outcomes of these children in adulthood or the parental psychiatric history variables that predict resilience.
From a sample of 379 mothers with serious mental illnesses, 157 women who had at least one adult child between the ages of 18 and 30 were interviewed. Mothers reported that about 80 percent of these adult children were working, in school, or in training. However, about one-third had not completed high school, and 54 percent were judged to have a major problem in psychological, drug or alcohol, or legal domains. Although nearly 40 percent were parents of minor children, only about 12 percent were in a committed relationship. Mothers’ bipolar diagnosis was a significant predictor for number of adult child problems.
The results indicate a need for more attention to the parenting status of adults with mental illnesses and to their parenting concerns and needs.
Carol T. Mowbray, Deborah Bybee, Daphna Oyserman, Peter MacFarlane, and Nicholas Bowersox