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01-08-2011 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2011

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2011

Parents of Adolescents with Mental Disorders: Improving Their Caregiving Experience

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2011
Michela Gatta, Lara Dal Zotto, Giulia Nequinio, Lara Del Col, Rosaria Sorgato, Giovanni Ceranto, Costantino Paolo Testa, Riccardo Pertile, Pier Antonio Battistella


Several studies have demonstrated that the family members of adolescents with mental diseases experience distress, anxiety and depression, as well as economic strain, all of which contribute to physical and psychological caregiver morbidity. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of intervention to improve the caregiving experience of the parents of mentally ill adolescents. The parents of 20 patients were assessed with the Experience of Caregiving Inventory (ECI) and the Working Alliance Inventory (WAI), while patients’ functioning and psychopathology were evaluated with the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale and the Child Behavior Check List (CBCL), respectively. Assessments were conducted over 9 months, comparing the experimental group receiving the intervention with a control group that received “standard” care. While there were no significant differences in the patients’ psychopathologies, the caregivers in the experimental group had better ECI and WAI scores. Intervention focusing on the parents seemed to improve the caregivers’ understanding of the disease’s impact on their lives irrespective of the severity of their children’s condition. This finding may be useful in developing adequate measures for the parents of adolescents with severe mental diseases to help contain their psychological distress.

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