In the Journal of Family Violence
August 16, 2017
Abstract: The goal of the present study was to understand how mothers perceive and experience barriers to effective help for their violent child with mental illness. Data from ethnographic interviews with 26 self-identified mothers of violent children with mental illness were analyzed using grounded theory and focused coding. Our study identified three themes that represent barriers to help: (1) denial of mental illness and severity of violence by treatment providers, extended family, and non-family members; (2) limited access to quality treatment and supports; and (3) a recurring cycle from optimism to hopelessness. To inform policy makers and practitioners on how best to remove these barriers, we draw comparisons between the current sample and survivors of intimate partner violence. Our paper concludes with recommendations for mental health practitioners and family intervention specialists.