Growing up with a mother with depression

Growing up with a mother with depression

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OBJECTIVE: Incorporate and enhance transnational strategies.
OBJECTIVE: Consider viable options for future transnational organizations.

Resource: Ch. 3 & 8 of Transnational Management


•    Developing Transnational Strategies (in Bartlett, Ghoshal, & Beamish)

o    Intro section (pp. 197-198)
o    Worldwide Competitive Advantage: Goals and Means (pp. 198-202)
o    Multinational, International, Global, and Transnational Strategies (pp. 203-206)
o    Worldwide Competitive Advantage: The Strategic Tasks (pp. 206-209)
o    Concluding Comments (pp. 209-210)
o    Cases 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, & 3-4 (pp. 210-281)
o    Readings 3-1, 3-2, & 3-3 (pp. 281-330)

Resource: Ch. 4 of The Quest for Global Dominance


•    Exploiting Global Presence (in Gupta, Govindarajan, & Wang)

o    Intro section (pp. 79-80)
o    Sources of Global Competitive Advantage (p. 80-100)
o    Creating Global Competitive Advantage: Action Implications (pp. 101-109)
o    The Star Framework in Action (pp. 110-112)
o    Conclusion (pp. 112-113)

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The Qualitative Report
2014 Volume 19
Article 29

Growing Up with a Mother with Depression:
An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Hanna Van Parys
University of Leuven
Jonathan A. Smith
University of London, London, United Kingdom
Peter Rober
University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
The aim of this study was to explore the childhood experience of living with a
parent with depression from a retrospective point of view. Five women between
39 and 47 years of age, who grew up with a mother with depression, were
interviewed about their current perspectives on their childhood experiences.
Interviews were semi

structured and the data were analyzed using
interpretative phenomenological analysis.
Data analysis led to a narrative
organized in two parts. The first part (
retrospective understanding of childhood
) reports on feelings of desolation contrasted to exceptional support,

related dwelling on own experiences, and growing into a caring role as
a way to keep standing. The second part (towards an
integration of childhood
experiences in adult realitie
) evidences ongoing processes of growing
understanding of the situation at home, coping with own vulnerabilities, making
the difference in
current family life and finding balance in the continued
bond with the parents. This retrospective investigati
on of adults’ perspectives
on their childhood experiences gave access to aspects of their experience that
remain underexposed in research based on data from children and adolescents.
Keywords: Children, Caregivers/Caregiving, Depression, Interpretative
nomenological Analysis (IPA), Parent

Child Relationships, Qualitative
In the past 2 decades, a growing number of studies focused on the influence of parental
mental illness on general family functioning (e.g., Dickstein et al.,
1998; Foster et al., 2008)
and on children’s well

being in particular (e.g., Cummings, Keller
& Davies, 2005; Goodman
et al., 2010). The main aim of this type of research is predicting and explaining relations
between parental mental illness and psychopathology in the child and later in life (e.g., Forbes
et al., 2006; Peisah, Brodaty, Luscombe, & Anstey, 2004; Whiffen,
Kerr, & Kallos

2005). In this research, children tend to be pictured as passive receivers of adverse outcomes
to their parent’s condition. Lacking a circular conceptualization of family dynamics, research
on children of
with depre
, for instance, often unilaterally stresses the diminishing
parenting capacities and the negative impact of depression on the parent

child interaction (e.g.,
Hammen, 1997).
While some studies examined stress and coping in relation to parental depress
ion (e.g.,
Compas, Langrock, Keller, Merchant, & Copeland, 2002) or children’s behavioral and
emotional responses to low parental mood (Solantaus

Simula, Punamaki, & Beardslee, 2002a,
2002b), only a few studies have explored children’s experiences of paren
tal depression in the
family (Earley & Cushway, 2002; Goodman
, Tully, Connell, Hartman, & Huh, 2011;
The Qualitative Report
& Hall, 2008). One important theme that emerges in these studies is the child’s meaning
making. As the parental depression itself is often one of t
he subjects that is not under discussion
in the family, children express their need for more information about the parent’s illness
(Meadus & Johnson, 2000; Stallard, Norman, Huline

Dickens, Salter, & Cribb, 2004).
However, while children need information
to give meaning to what is happening around them,
there is also a danger in receiving too much information as this might burden the child (Stallard
et al., 2004).
Apart from enabling an understanding of the parent’s behavior, making sense of the
depression and their own experiences is also related to coping with this parental
condition (Aldrigde & Becker, 2003; Meadus & Johnson, 2000). The child’s experience of
coping with the parent’s depression is investigated by Mordoch and Hall (2008). In a qu
study, they describe how children and adolescents try to find a daily rhythm by first monitoring
the parent’s behaviors and moods, and then adjusting their own behaviors in response to their
observations. At the same time, children and adolescent
s try to create an appropriate distance
towards the parents to avoid being engulfed by the parental mental illness. In this long

process children and adolescents preserved themselves partly by building their own identity
and differentiating from their
parents (Mordoch & Hall, 2008). Related to that, Kaimal and
Beardslee (2010), in a study about the way emerging adults perceive parental depression, reveal
five general perspectives: resistance and negativity (clustered as “self

oriented” perspectives),
cceptance and compassion (clustered as “other

oriented” perspectives) and ambivalence.
Furthermore, the transition paths between these perspectives are analyzed at the ages of 17, 18,
and 19 years, revealing both changing and stable patterns (Kaimal & Bear
dslee, 2010).
A third theme that is critical in studies on the children’s and adolescents’ experiences
of parental depression is sensitivity and caregiving. For a child, one particular way to go about
adversity at home is active involvement in the family
or in the parent’s emotional life. Children
might feel the vulnerabilities in their parent and try to act in a way that they cause the least
trouble or actively contribute to the family (Earley & Cushway, 2002). This family process is
referred to as parent
ification (Chase 1999; Jurkovic, 1997; Peris, Goecke

Morey, Cummings,
& Emery, 2008). Parental mental illness is considered one of the contexts in which
parentification occurs (Aldridge, 2006; Champion et al., 2009). Children of
are sensitive for behavioral signs of their parent and cues in the conversation with
their parent that inform them about their parent’s well

being or distress (e.g., Pölkki, Ervast, &
Huupponen, 2004; Van Parys & Rober, 2013). Along with this sensit
ivity, children worry a lot
about their parent’s emotional well

being and they experience increased responsibility for their
families (Knutsson

Medin, Edlund, & Ramklint, 2007; Van Parys & Rober, 2013). For
instance, children “try to be there for the paren
t” when he or she is in a state of emotional
despair (Aldridge, 2006). Using thematic analysis, Van Parys and Rober (2013) construct a
general framework of 14 children’s experiences of
parental depression and their own
caregiving in the family. The theme “
trying to comfort the parent” was selected for a
microanalysis, illustrating processes of overt negotiating of caretaking between parent and
child as well as dynamics of the child hiding or denying his worries as an answer to parental
distress (Van Parys &
Rober, 2013).
In a meta

analysis of the experiences of young carers, Rose and Cohen (2010) report
that children try to integrate caring into
emerging identity. Children might be prone to
identity as “their exploration of alternative identities [is] limited” (Rose & Cohen, 2010,
p. 484). Lastly, there seems to be some kind of secrecy in the family with regard to this caring
role (Aldridge & Becker, 2003; Rose & Cohen, 2010). Pölkki et al.
(2004) suggest
especially younger children do not talk about their caretaking actions. In general, Focht

Birkerts and Beardslee (2000) state
that for both parents and children, the most difficult thing
to talk about is the distress children experie
nce about having a parent with a mental illness.


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