Modelling social networks for children of parents with severe and enduring mental illness: an evidence based modification to the network episode model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Network Episode Model (NEM) is a well utilised model conceptualising how social networks, valuable resources which can positively impact wellbeing and functional outcomes, are responsive to the needs of people with physical and mental health difficulties. Children of parents with severe and enduring mental illness (COPMI) are impacted by these illnesses through the intersecting roles of kin relation, informal carer, and dependent. However, it is not clear that social networks effectively respond in kind to the child’s episodic need. We draw upon qualitative data to propose a new multi-factorial conceptual model (COPMI-NEM), triangulating parental mental illness, child’s developmental stage and social ties to theorise how social networks do respond and adapt to children’s needs.The model illustrates how networks are typically flexible and responsive to visible age-related needs, but less reactive to more obscured needs. Successful network navigation and negotiation of support relies on multiple factors including the child’s ability to successfully activate social ties and the availability of formal networks. We propose a new theoretically and empirically informed NEM model also available for testing, refinement and validation in other young carer populations exposed to episodic parental health needs. Findings from this study could be used to generate network informed interventions for this and comparable populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162
JournalBMC Psychology
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date19 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Mental ill parents
  • Social network analysis
  • Social networks
  • Vulnerable children

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