Thursday, July 22, 2004
This presentation is part of : Chronic Mental Illness
Portrait of Families With a Member Labeled Schizophrenic
Noreen R. Brady, PhD, RN, CS, LPCC, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
Learning Objective #1: Identify three transformative themes included in a portrait of families with a member labeled schizophrenic
Learning Objective #2: Describe one method of enhancing nursing practice by awareness of one transformative theme included in a portrait of families with a member labeled schizophrenic

Portrait of Families with a Member Labeled Schizophrenic

Objective: The objective of this qualitative study was to construct a Unitary Field Pattern Portrait (UFPP) of living in a family with a member labeled schizophrenic. This unitary portrait provides understanding of family life and family functioning when one family member is diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia.

Sample and Setting: Purposive sampling was used. Fourteen individuals from six families participated: six family members diagnosed with schizophrenia, four mothers, and four sisters. Participant ages ranged from 29 to 76 years. All data were collected at community sites chosen by the participant.

Design, Methods, and Data Synthesis: The Unitary Field Pattern Portrait research method was used (Butcher, 1994, 1998). Audio-taped, open-ended interviews lasting from 45-90 minutes were conducted with each participant. Individual, subgroup (members diagnosed with schizophrenia, mothers, and sisters), and family pattern profiles were constructed. Common themes from each subgroup’s and family’s profile were identified. Based on these themes an overall theoretical family portrait was constructed.

Findings: The family portrait of living with a member labeled schizophrenic includes the following transformative themes: 1) a dreaded feeling of uncertainty related to what the member with schizophrenia might do next; 2) ; relinquished hopes and dreams for family life; 3) feeling misunderstood and having experiences negated by health professionals; 4) seeking to identify past events to understand the cause of schizophrenia; 5) enduring multiple losses; 6) recreating family roles; and 7) uniting to help other family members.

Conclusions: Overall, the family portrait encompasses transformative experiences that alter family life in terms of uncertainty, losses, roles, and plans for the future.

Implications: These findings may give nurses insight into the daily life and struggle of families with a member labeled schizophrenic, and may enhance the efficacy of targeted nursing interventions.

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Sigma Theta Tau International
July 22-24, 2004