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Parents of mentally ill children -- Services for, Parents of children with disabilities -- Services for, Caregivers -- Psychology, Work and family


Employed parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders face many potential challenges when striving to find balance between their work and family responsibilities. While responding to the demands of the workplace, they must also attend to the unique caregiving needs of their children such as facilitating on-going treatment, responding to frequent emergencies, and arranging adequate child care (Rosenzweig, Brennan, Huffstutter, & Bradley, in press). These parents often develop strategies to gain the flexibility at work they need in order to care for their child while still maintaining a high level of job performance (Rosenzweig, Brennan, & Ogilvie 2002). Whether parents are successful in achieving this balance often depends on the culture of their workplace, the decisions they make regarding whether and how much to disclose about their child's situation, and the stigmatization they may encounter as a result of this disclosure. In this presentation, we reported the results of six focus groups of employed parents of children with mental health difficulties. This research was conducted as part of a federally funded five-year research project investigating work-life integration for this group of families. Our analysis focused on the parental experiences in the workplace and on the interrelationships between workplace culture, decision-making regarding disclosure, stigmatization, and workplace support.


Originally appeared in S. Swart, B. J. Friesen, A. Holman, & N. Aue (Eds.), Building on family strengths: Research and services in support of children and their families. 2007 conference proceedings (pp. 137-142). Portland, OR: Portland State University, Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health.

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