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Title: Schizophrenia in the family: studying the experience of caregiving
Keywords: schizophrenia, mental illness, caregiving, illness meanings, coping strategies, social networks
Issue Date: 21-Nov-2007
Citation: WON TING TING, VIVIEN (2007-11-21). Schizophrenia in the family: studying the experience of caregiving. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis examines the process of coping among twelve individuals who are caregivers of a close family member affected by a chronic mental illness. I adopt a sociocultural perspective from medical sociology to explain the strategies that caregivers use to cope with schizophrenia in the family. Dimensions of coping include the recognition mental disorder in a loved one, the different choices that are taken in the search for treatment, and the management of the patient in everyday life. I explain how social support, kinship and other informal social ties, information, beliefs and values, shape the struggle, adaptation and managing of difficulties which characterise the social process of giving care. My thesis argues that family caregivers respond to mental illness using different illness meanings to interpret signs of disorder to seek treatment for their afflicted kin. Although all the caregivers use the formal psychiatric treatment system and accept the biomedical model of mental illness as an illness meaning they subscribe to and use other frameworks of interpreting illness and recovery in the care of the mental patient. (In the struggle towards establishing normality in the afflicted individualsb lives, caregivers marshal different strategies to deal with the host of problems in the care of a loved one.)Respondents were recruited from a community mental health organization where I worked as a volunteer-facilitator. I conducted participant observation in a caregiver support group for six months and carried out between two to three in-depth interviews with each respondent using a semi-structured interview approach.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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