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10-10-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2020 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2020

Parents’ Descriptions of How Their Psychosis Affects Parenting

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2020
Jennifer Strand, Petra Boström, Karin Grip
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Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-019-01605-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Parental psychosis poses a risk factor for a child’s well-being. Few studies have focused on the parents’ views of how their psychosis affects their parenting, and results for parenting ability in this group are contradictory. The present study aimed to explore how parents with psychosis experience the effect(s) of their illness on parenting.


In-depth and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 parents who attended outpatient clinics specializing in psychosis. The transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Data related to the research aim were analyzed deductively according to the protection, reciprocity, control, guided learning, and group participation model of parenting. Data in each domain were subsequently coded inductively to form subthemes.


Results show that all domains of parenting appear to be affected by psychosis. The parents specifically mentioned that depression, fatigue, and difficulty focusing because of hearing voices had negative impacts on their abilities to provide protection, reciprocity, and control. The parents also expressed difficulties in maintaining routines in the child’s everyday life. Furthermore, the theme “Unpredictable absences” crosses all domains and highlights the parents’ recurrent mental and physical absences from their children during psychotic episodes.


The present study provides some insight into how different aspects of parenting may be affected by psychosis. We suggest that these effects on parenting need to be further explored and confirmed by research focusing on the child’s perspective and on observations of parent-child interaction.

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