Social Networks of Children of Mentally Ill Parents
Children of mentally ill parents represent a high-risk group for developing a mental illness themselves. The Relationship between mental illness and social networks can be negatively affected by isolation, caused by stigma experiences or a sense of shame. That implies the important role of functioning social networks regarding people’s social participation as well as their morbidity and mortality. However, nothing is known about the network structure of children with mentally ill parents.
To identify relevant network data about the structure of social networks, interviews will be conducted with children and adolescents between six and eighteen years with at least one mentally ill parent.
Quantitative methods will be used. Interviews will be conducted with children of families participating in the German multicentre study “Children of mentally ill parents (CHIMPs)”. Inclusion criteria will be informed consent of parents and children, presence of at least one mentally ill parent and having an age between six and eighteen years. To identify informations about the network structure including size, frequency of contacts, duration of contacts, and quality and quantity of support, two age-adapted Versions of the SONET questionnaire for children and adolescents will be used. Effects of clinical characteristics of children and parents on social networks and effects of differences in social networks on subjective quality of life will be analysed by means of path analysis.
Preliminary results about characteristics of social networks of children with mentally ill parents and their associations with clinical characteristics and quality of life of children and parents will be presented.
Presented results will be discussed in view of implication for service needs and hypotheses for further research.