As care for the elderly continues to be a significant social concern, this study examines the experiences, gratifications, and frustrations of adult children suffering from a mental illness and become the primary caregivers of their aging parent within the home. In addition, the study explored the role of trauma as part of the adult children's decision to become the primary caregivers of their aging parent. Adult children and their aging parents were of Jewish descent and currently residing in a large metropolitan area. A total of 9 adult Jewish children, 6 males and 3 females, were recruited from a non-profit, community-funded social service agency for this qualitative study. The nine participants were asked to complete a short demographic questionnaire, asked general background information, and were administered a semi-structured caregiving interview. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and analyzed using grounded theory methodology.
The major themes that emerged from this qualitative study provide insight into the adult child's experience as a caregiver with respect to their caregiving responsibilities, additional assistance from outside agencies or individuals, issues related to mental health and wellness, positive and negative aspects of the caregiving role, religion, and loss. Minor themes that emerged in the data were developmental task achievement and the impact of legal difficulties on the experience of caregiving. The results indicate that the adult child's role as the primary caregiver likely fulfills a purpose in this mentally ill adult child's life. There seems to be a relationship between the adult child's lack of normative development within the life cycle and adopting the role of caregiver. This role is also influenced by other factors such as trauma/stress, social constriction, parenting style, lack of support, and co-dependency between adult and child. Therefore, this study was able to provide a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to the trend of mentally ill adult Jewish children taking on the caregiver role for their aging parents.
|School:||Adler School of Professional Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Behavioral psychology, Psychology, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Aging, Caregiving, Co-Dependent, Jewish, Mentally ill, Parents|
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