Family options for parents with mental illnesses: a developmental, mixed methods pilot study

Psychiatr Rehabil J. Fall 2009;33(2):106-14. doi: 10.2975/33.2.2009.106.114.


Objective: The objective of this paper is to provide a description of Family Options, a rehabilitation intervention for parents with serious mental illnesses and their children focusing on recovery and resilience, and to report the findings from a pilot study at 6-months post-enrollment for participating mothers.

Methods: A developmental design, and mixed quantitative and qualitative methods facilitate an in-depth understanding of Family Options and its impact on parents early in the implementation process.

Results: Participating families faced significant challenges, including long-term mental health conditions in adults, and emotional and behavioral difficulties in children. Data from mothers (n = 22) demonstrate significant improvements in well-being, functioning, and supports and resources at 6 months post-enrollment in Family Options. Mothers report help from Family Options staff consistent with the intervention as conceptualized, and high levels of satisfaction with the intervention as delivered.

Conclusions: Innovative study design and analytic strategies are required to build the evidence base and promote rapid dissemination of effective interventions. Findings from this study will assist purveyors in refining the intervention, and will lay the groundwork for further replication and testing to build the evidence base for parents with serious mental illnesses and their families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Affective Symptoms / rehabilitation
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Comorbidity
  • Education / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Social Support
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation