Navigation Links
Children seriously affected when a parent suffers from depression

Life is hard for the children of a parent suffering from depression. Children take on an enormous amount of responsibility for the ill parent and for other family members. It is therefore important for the health services to be aware of this and have support functions in place for the whole family, and not just for the person who is ill. This is the conclusion of a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Registered Nurse Britt Hedman Ahlstrm has examined the way in which family life is affected when a parent is suffering from depression. Nine families, including ten children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 26, and eleven parents were included in the study.

The results show how the family's daily life changes and becomes more complicated when a parent is suffering from depression. Uncertainty about what is happening has an effect on the daily life of the entire family. Depression also means that the parent becomes tired and exhausted, which then affects and weighs heavily on the children's daily life. Depression changes the relationship between a parent and his/her children, since they no longer communicate with each other as they used to. Family interplay and reciprocity decrease. The depressed parent withdraws from the family, and the children feel that they have been left to themselves.

Daily family life becomes unfamiliar to the children

The family members try their utmost, both as individuals and together, to cope with the situation, so that daily life can be restored to a more manageable level. The children take responsibility for both the depressed parent, siblings and themselves, when they notice that the parent cannot cope.

"The toughest burden of responsibility that children take on is ensuring that the depressed parent doesn't commit suicide. So children take on an extremely heavy responsibility by monitoring and keeping an eye on the depressed parent," says Britt Hedman Ahlstrm.

For children, the parent's depression means both a sense of responsibility and a feeling of loneliness The feelings of responsibility and loneliness include a striving and yearning for reciprocity with the parent, and for things to return to a state of normality.

"Even if the depression goes away for a time, the family is never entirely free from anxiety over it coming back. This means that there is a prolonged period of suffering associated with depression," says Britt Hedman Ahlstrm.

Health services must help the whole family

Involving the entire family when a parent becomes ill is important, both for the children and the parents. It is essential to have a well-defined level of guaranteed care on how, when and from whom the families will get support. Psychiatric healthcare personnel meet people suffering from depression at an early stage, and therefore have the opportunity to focus the care on the family, in order to together identify ways of helping the family get through the depression.

"We need a new approach within the health services, in which the focus is on the family's own perspective when a parent is suffering from depression. It's vital to be aware of the whole family's needs in terms of help and support, and not just those of the person who is ill. It's particularly important to be aware of the children's situation. Research can therefore focus on how to develop various ways of providing families with care and support, and introduce them into the existing organisation, as well as evaluating the consequences for the whole family, the parents and the children," says Britt Hedman Ahlstrm.


Contact: Ulrika Lundin
University of Gothenburg

Related biology news :

1. Fat still on the childrens menu
2. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
3. Restless legs syndrome affects nearly 2 percent of US/UK children
4. Children with autism dont adapt as readily to unfamiliar faces
5. Seattle Childrens Hospital leads $23.7 million NIH grant to study gene repair
6. Soft drinks alone do not affect childrens weight
7. Thousands of starving children could be restored to health with peanut butter program
8. A step toward tissue-engineered heart structures for children
9. Studies: Children obese due to a host of unhealthy pressures
10. UD named a regional research participant in National Children’s Study
11. Influenza vaccine causes weaker immune response for children of rural Gabon than in semi-urban areas
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , ... announced the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence ... and expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, ... identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic ... sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by ... tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has already ... therapeutics in multiple cancer types. Over ... DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announces the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention ... recruitment and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
Breaking Biology Technology: