Men's experiences of parenting successfully with a serious mental illness (SMI)
Ashe, J. P. (2018). Men’s experiences of parenting successfully with a serious mental illness (SMI) (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11859
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11859
Many of the men in Aotearoa/New Zealand with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) are fathers, who like others maintain intimate, loving relationships and live healthy and fulfilling lives. This research seeks to understand what enables this group of fathers to sustain their relationships and parenting responsibilities, through times of illness and stress. The study interviewed twelve New Zealand European men aged between 34-68 who were coping well with their illnesses and parenting responsibilities. Findings revealed that fathering was perceived as a positive element of individual identity that contributed to overall well-being, motivating these men to overcome their adversities. Communication was considered key in the maintenance of relationships. Fathers shared the responsibilities of providing and child-rearing with their co-parents and routinely participated in the household chores, demonstrating the practices of a truly ‘involved father’. Recovery was viewed along a continuum, and self- managed care was considered pivotal in the maintenance of well-being. Support consisted predominately of small kin networks, of which partners and or parents/in-law were the principal supporters. General Practitioners provided the primary point of mental health contact. For those who engaged with specialist mental health services, the needs of their children and or families were not incorporated into their care. In conclusion, these men and their families are focused on living good, meaningful, and engaged lives irrespective of, or perhaps because of SMI. At the centre of their success appears to be an interrelated process of shared responsibilities, effective communication, and organised routines with a significant degree of reciprocity evident across their relationships. In conjunction with this, individually these fathers demonstrate an absolute sense of personal responsibility for the maintenance of their overall well-being.
The University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses