Percepción de la enfermedad mental materna por los niños

Translated title of the contribution: Perception of Maternal Mental Illness by the Child

Joaquín Aguasaco Méndez, Olga Albornoz-Salas, Isabel Regina Perez Olmos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: To have a parent with a mental illness is considered a chronic adversity and a risk factor with diverse outcomes.
Research on the experiences of living day to day with a parent with mental illness is extremely rare.

Objective: To explore how children understand the mental illness of their mothers and aspects that are related with their comprehension.

Method: An interpretative qualitative model was used (Grounded Theory) to analyze data from 13 semi-structured interviews conducted among children between the ages of 8 and 16 years living with their mothers who have diagnoses of schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

Results: We developed a theoretical model regarding the factors that are related to the experiences and understanding of
having and living with a mentally-ill mother. The model is composed of four concepts: (1) Characteristics of the disease, (2) information about mental illness, (3) explanations of mental illness, and (4) consequences.

Conclusions: This study showed the main factors that help the child explain the mental illness. It also indicated that the family is not ready or open to talk with the child about the mental illness, and how the child feels that the mental health network is not a source of information or support.

Key words: Child, mental disorders, mothers, qualitative research, comprehension.
Translated title of the contributionPerception of Maternal Mental Illness by the Child
Original languageSpanish (Colombia)
Pages (from-to)110-133
Number of pages24
JournalRevista Colombiana de Psiquiatria
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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