Parents Caring For Adult Children With Serious Mental Illness

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Document Type



Health Services Administration | Mental and Social Health | Mental Disorders | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


BACKGROUND: Parents often become the caregivers for their adult children with serious mental illness (SMI) due to the chronic and debilitating course of the illness and shortages in funding for community mental health services and residential placements.

OBJECTIVE: To examine parents' management styles when caring for adult children with SMI and parents' perspectives on what type of community-based mental health interventions would support and/or enhance overall family functioning.

DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive study using semistructured interviews with parents caring for adult children with SMI. The study was undergirded by Knafl and Deatrick's Family Management Style Framework.

RESULTS: Four major themes emerged from the data describing prolonged and difficult phases that parents and the family undergo in caring for an adult child with SMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Successful management of these phases must include increasing access to mental health information, mental health screening, early interventions, and violence prevention for adult children and their families.


adult children, caregiving, management styles, parents, serious mental illness

DOI of Published Version



J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2017 Mar/Apr;23(2):119-132. doi: 10.1177/1078390316685404. Epub 2017 Jan 6. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association


Kathryn Y. Raymond undertook this study as a doctoral student (view her dissertation) in the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID