The longest bereavement: Adult offspring of parents with a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder

Sharon L. Smith (2004)

Adults raised by a parent with schizophrenia (APS) participated in e-mail interviews about the effect of their childhood relationships with their ill parents on their current caregiving activities. Qualitative analysis of narrative data revealed themes consistent with extant research in related areas (e.g., parents whose young-adult children become psychotic; adults "sandwiched" between responsibilities to elderly parents and to careers and/or children). Themes specific to APS also emerged (e.g., having been in the caregiver role since early childhood; attempting to make sense of childhood memories in light of new knowledge about schizophrenia; changes in the relationship secondary to an aging parent's stroke or other medical challenges). Recommendations are provided for clinicians working with this population.