Problem: The purpose of this study was to describe how parents define their child's emotional illness and psychiatric treatment needs.
Subjects: The sample consisted of 19 parents and one grandparent (N = 20) who had recently admitted their child to a short-term psychiatric unit.
Methods: Qualitative methods, utilizing a semistructured interview. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Substantive codes were combined to derive the key concepts and themes in the interviews.
Findings: The findings of this study center on themes related to parents' efforts to control the current behavioral crisis, treatment acceptability, family needs, explanatory formulations, and securing the child's future.
Conclusions: Implications for treatment include how nurses might tap into parents' perceptions to facilitate parent' professional communication.