Family Options for Parents with Mental Illnesses: A Developmental, Mixed Methods Pilot Study

University of Massachusetts Medical School, MA, USA.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (Impact Factor: 1.16). 09/2009; 33(2):106-14. DOI: 10.2975/33.2.2009.106.114
Source: PubMed


The objective of this paper is to provide a description of Family Options, a rehabilitation intervention for parents with serious mental illnesses and their children focusing on recovery and resilience, and to report the findings from a pilot study at 6-months post-enrollment for participating mothers.
A developmental design, and mixed quantitative and qualitative methods facilitate an in-depth understanding of Family Options and its impact on parents early in the implementation process.
Participating families faced significant challenges, including long-term mental health conditions in adults, and emotional and behavioral difficulties in children. Data from mothers (n = 22) demonstrate significant improvements in well-being, functioning, and supports and resources at 6 months post-enrollment in Family Options. Mothers report help from Family Options staff consistent with the intervention as conceptualized, and high levels of satisfaction with the intervention as delivered.
Innovative study design and analytic strategies are required to build the evidence base and promote rapid dissemination of effective interventions. Findings from this study will assist purveyors in refining the intervention, and will lay the groundwork for further replication and testing to build the evidence base for parents with serious mental illnesses and their families.

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Available from: Kathleen Biebel, Apr 08, 2015
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    • "The barriers they face are numerous, and the consequences can be devastating. The limited programming that does exist for parents with a mental illness has shown positive outcomes (Hinden, Biebel, Nicholson, & Mehnert, 2002; Nicholson, Albert, Gershenson, Williams, & Biebel, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study examined the effectiveness of an Internet parenting education and support intervention among mothers with a serious mental illness (SMI). Methods: Sixty mothers diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum or mood disorder who had primary/shared custody for a child 18 or younger were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with two conditions. The experimental condition involved participation in the online parental education course and a listserv co-moderated by a parent with a mental illness and a mental health professional. The control condition involved participation in online education healthy lifestyle course. Standardized measures were used at baseline and 3 months to assess outcomes. Using an intent-to-treat approach, group differences over time were assessed using a two-tailed independent sample t test on all dependent variables, including parental efficacy, skills, coping, support, and stress. Results: Participation in an online parenting intervention for mothers with a SMI enhanced parenting and coping skills, and decreased parental stress. No support was found for improved efficacy or support. Conclusion: This RCT establishes that mothers with a SMI are interested in and capable of receiving online parenting education and support. Findings demonstrate that an online parenting intervention can improve parenting and coping skills and decrease parental stress.
    Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 06/2014; 37(3). DOI:10.1037/prj0000080 · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    • "Several pilot reflective functioning groups of this sort are currently underway at community-based programs in Connecticut. On the other hand, if mothers with SMI feel that they need help setting boundaries with their children, getting their children to school on time, or remembering their children's school bus schedule, then assistance can be developed to target these more instrumental domains (see Nicholson et al., 2009). Mothers with SMI may also need help with childcare so that they can return to productive work outside the home. "
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    ABSTRACT: Women with serious mental illness often parent without adequate support from psychiatric and behavioral health providers. The lack of such services is significant, given that women with SMI have children at the same or higher rates as women without psychiatric disabilities. In this call to action, we argue that the need to develop supported parenting initiatives for women with SMI is necessary and long overdue. First, we describe numerous social and systemic barriers in the U.S. that have hindered the development of parenting supports for women with SMI over the last century. We next describe recent qualitative and quantitative findings regarding the parenting needs and strengths of these mothers. Finally, we conclude with suggestions for future research, program development, and systems-level policy changes to support mothers with SMI in parenting most effectively.
    American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation 04/2011; 14(2):137-153. DOI:10.1080/15487768.2011.569668
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    ABSTRACT: Given that the majority of adults with mental illness are parents, it is likely that a substantial number of members in the Clubhouse community are parents. Supporting members in their role as parents presents meaningful, philosophical and practical challenges for both individual Clubhouses and the Clubhouse movement. Supporting parents within the Clubhouse, however, is a necessary and logical step, consistent with the Clubhouse emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery. The current study explored the conditions necessary for supporting members in the parenting role in an existing Clubhouse. A grounded-theory, ethnographic approach was used to collect data from multiple stakeholders including Clubhouse members, staff, and Board of Directors. A total of nine focus groups with 30 participants were conducted. Five themes emerged reflecting the conditions necessary to support parents in the Clubhouse: 1) securing stakeholder buy-in; 2) identification of shared values and principles; 3) clarification about how supporting parents will affect current Clubhouse activities; 4) facilitation of ongoing communication about changes; and 5) exploration of opportunities to maximize resources to support all Clubhouse members. Findings confirm the philosophical desirability and practical feasibility of supporting members in the parenting role, and identify fundamental challenges to philosophy and practice raised by the paradigm shift from thinking about individuals to thinking about families.
    Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 01/2009; 33(2):98-105. DOI:10.2975/33.2.2009.98.105 · 1.16 Impact Factor
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