Mothers’ experiences of having an adolescent child with depression: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Sarah Armitage, Monika Parkinson, Sarah Halligan, Shirley Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Objectives: Adolescence represents a significant period of vulnerability for the development of depression. Whilst research has begun to explore factors associated with the development, maintenance and outcomes of adolescent depression, there is little research investigating this experience from a parental viewpoint. The aim of this study was to explore mothers’ experiences of having an adolescent child with depression. Methods: Eight mothers of depressed adolescents were recruited following their child’s clinical assessment at a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and participated in semi-structured interviews. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: The analysis revealed five interlinked superordinate themes: Finding a reason, something to blame; Living with uncertainty; Feelings of helplessness and frustration; Depression causes change; Hiding own emotions and needs. A key finding across the themes was the emotional distress and sense of uncertainty experienced by the mothers. Conclusions: The findings highlight avenues for clinical practice and further research including exploring the type and format of information and support that parents would value most, the views of fathers, and more in-depth exploration of the identified themes with parents using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 13 Jan 2020


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