Experiences of Adult Children Who Grew up With Parents With Schizophrenia


  • Jolanda Marčiukonytė Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas district social services center


schizophrenia, experiences of adult children, mental health stigma, support


There have not been many studies in Lithuania about the challenges that children face when growing up with parents with schizophrenia. A social worker who is familiar with these factors can offer effective assistance to children with schizophrenic parents who may be afraid or ashamed to seek and accept help because of the prevailing mental health stigma in todays society. This study seeks to find out what challenges adult children faced as they grew up with schizophrenic parents and how collaboration between informal and formal support systems can improve the dynamics of family systems with schizophrenic parents. Research purpose – to analyze the impact of parental illness (schizophrenia) on the life experiences of adult during their childhood. Research objective – Life experiences of adult children growing up with schizophrenic parents. Research tasks: 1.) To find out what challenges adult children faced when growing up in families with schizophrenic parents; 2.) To reveal strategies used by adult children to cope with stress caused directly by the daily challenges of growing up with parents with schizophrenia; 3.) To identify which informal assistance methods were available to the families; 4) To reveal how formal assistance methods are used to help family systems with parents with schizophrenia. The study was conducted using the qualitative research method. The data collection method was a semi-structured interview consisting of a total of 25 topics. A total of five participants participated in the study. The data gathered during the research was analyzed using the method of qualitative content analysis. The analysis of the study revealed that children faced many challenges as they grew up with parents with schizophrenia: parental psychosis, aggression, lack of skills, financial deprivation, children had to perform parental functions, and to help alleviate the stress caused by daily challenges the children would often resort to bad habits, humour, their favourite activities or spend time with their friends. The study found that families did not have an extensive network of informal assistance and had difficulty obtaining all types of formal assistance. The participants of the study revealed that a strong sense of shame prevented them from seeking help during their childhood, and that the need for assistance is still being felt in their adult lives today. In this study, the role of social assistance and social worker was not revealed.




How to Cite

Marčiukonytė, J. . (2023). Experiences of Adult Children Who Grew up With Parents With Schizophrenia . Socialinis Darbas: Patirtis Ir Metodai / Social Work: Experience and Methods, 2(30), 113–138. Retrieved from https://ejournals.vdu.lt/index.php/SWEM/article/view/5124