Advances in Mental Health, Vol 12, No 1 (2013)

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Parental influence on the mental health-related behaviour of young people with mental illness: Young people’s perceptions

Anne Honey, Vikki Fraser, Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Philip Hazell, Simon Clark


Parents of young people with mental illness use a variety of strategies to try to positively influence young people’s mental health-related behaviours. Evidence suggests that these parents can influence young people’s well-being and mental health trajectories. However little is known about how young people perceive and are affected by the strategies parents use. In-depth qualitative interviews focusing on parental involvement in mental health were conducted with twenty-six young people with mental illness. The data were analysed using constant comparative analysis. Young people described parents as directly influencing their mental health-related behaviour through facilitative, persuasive and controlling practices. Young people’s behavioural and emotional responses to these practices were influenced by when the incident occurred; what they believed about the attitudes and motives behind their parents’ actions; whether they agreed in principle with the practices; the degree to which they accepted their parents’ authority and anticipated their own increasing autonomy; and whether other support was provided alongside the behavioural practices. Understanding how young people view their parents’ influence on their mental health-related behaviour under different circumstances is a vital step toward promoting the best possible parental support for these young people.


Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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