Parent peer support: impact on children with mental illness
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Parenting can be a daunting endeavor. Parenting a child with special needs can be even more challenging (Ireys, Chernoff, Stein, DeVet, & Silver, 2001). This nonrandom pilot study investigated the impact of parent peer support on children with mental illness. It was hypothesized that parents would report improvements in their own coping skills, emotional health and confidence, and improvement in their children's behavior as a result of the parent being involved in parent peer support. An online survey was administered to 35 parents from a Wisconsin nonprofit advocacy agency. Survey data was statistically analyzed using frequencies, mean comparisons, correlations and a reliability analysis. As hypothesized, parents reported improvements in their coping skills, emotional health and confidence. However, they did not report improvements in their children. Implications for practitioners would be that parents need help recognizing indications of improvement in their children. Future research would benefit from a large, randomized national sample.