'I can hardly breathe': Exploring the parental experience of having a child with a functional disorder

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DOI

  • Ditte Roth Hulgaard, Univ Southern Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Dept Clin Res, Child & Adolescent Psychiat Odense
  • ,
  • Charlotte Ulrikka Rask
  • Mette Bech Risor, Arctic Univ Norway, UiT The Arctic University of Tromso, UiT, Dept Community Med, Gen Practice Res Unit
  • ,
  • Gitte Dehlholm, Univ Southern Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Dept Clin Res, Child & Adolescent Psychiat Odense

Functional disorders in children and adolescents are common. Still, little is known about parents' experience of having a child with a functional disorder. The aim of this qualitative interview study was to explore challenges encountered by parents caring for a child undergoing treatment for functional disorder. Sixteen parents to children with functional disorders were interviewed when their child was referred from a paediatric department for further specialized treatment with family therapy in child and adolescent mental health services. Analysis identified three themes, reflecting the parental experiences: parents in limbo, which described how limited knowledge about functional disorders among professionals in non-specialized settings influenced parental roles; a counterintuitive kind of caring, describing parental struggles with adhering to treatment recommendations for functional disorders; and challenges to parental identity, describing parental emotional challenges. These challenges may bar the acceptance of psychological treatment approaches in families with a child with functional disorders.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Child Health Care
Vol/bind24
Nummer2
Sider (fra-til)165-179
Antal sider15
ISSN1367-4935
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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