Print

The Experience of Caring for a Person with a Mental Illness: A Grounded Theory Study

Issue: Vol.9, No.1 - January 2010

« Back to Articles

Article Type: Manuscript

Download PDF Version »

  1. Dr Dianne Wynaden
    RN, RMHN, PhD
    Associate Professor (Mental Health)/Director, Research and Development School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology

A substantive theory that explained the experience of caring for a person with a mental illness was developed using grounded theory methodology. When participants began caring they were overwhelmed by the role and consumed by what was happening to the ill family member, to themselves and to their family. This state was conceptualised as a social psychological problem called being consumed. In managing the experience of being consumed, all carers engaged in a social psychological process, call seeking balance. During this process, carers moved to a state where their commitment to the ill family member was more balanced and proportionate to other areas of their lives.

The implications of this research include the need for increased collaboration between health professionals, policy makers and carers along with the recognition that mental illness impacts on the individual, their family and the community at many levels. The findings also provide health professionals with a valuable insight into caring. The need to decrease the stigma directed towards people with a mental illness is important to facilitate the person's integration into the community and sustain a cohesive level of family life. To support this, the general population requires increased education to be better prepared at a community level to effectively support the ill person and their family.

Download PDF Version »

Favourites   Share / Bookmark

Also In This Issue

« Back to Articles