An examination of familial correlates of child psychiatric disorders

Pujara, Hardevi Harsha Chanrakant (1980) An examination of familial correlates of child psychiatric disorders. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the familial correlates of psychiatric disorders in children receiving psychiatric services in Newfoundland. The data for the study were collected through personal interviews with the parents of forty-five children receiving psychiatric services during a specified period of time. A structured questionnaire was administered to this sample consisting of parents of all ages, and occupational background. The data thus obtained were compared with the data obtained in a major research project on family life in St. John's, Newfoundland, using the same form of questionnaire. A review of literature revealed that the family environments of children with psychiatric condition were unsuitable in many ways. Four main areas were discerned: 1) Marital Relationship of Parents, 2) Family Size, 3) Parental adequancy determined by their readiness for parenthood, and 4) Parents' Motives for having Children. Theories of personality development supported the basic contention that deficiency in the family environment may cause child psychiatric disorders through its influence on parent-child relationship. A total of sixteen hypotheses were derived in the four areas of family life. An analysis of findings confirmed all but two hypotheses. The general conclusion arrived at was that the marital relationship of parents of children with psychiatric disorders was conflict ridden. These children also came from relatively large families. The parents of these children reported being not ready to assume the parental role, and they lacked knowledge about child rearing. Many were dissatisfied with the role of child rearing. It was also noted that the parents of children with psychiatric disorders differed in their motives for having children; from that of the general population. These findings are relevant to social workers and other personnel who work with children and their families, in child guidance clinics, in family counselling centers, in child welfare organizations, and so on in that they provide some measure of understanding of the background of children who are troubled and need assistance with their social and personal adjustment. Statistics indicate an upward trend in the population of children requiring psychiatric services, drawing attention to the need for competent mental health services for children and their families. Further research is therefore required to identify those social programs which strengthen family life, with a view to providing preventive treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14114
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: August 1980
Date Type: Submission

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