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Owing to multiple roles, including caregiving provision, mothers of children with schizophrenia experience a high level of stress. How these mothers adapt themselves to this caregiving, in addition to their other roles in the family, requires understanding before the development of an intervention. This study explored the process of adaptation among 20 Northeastern Thai mothers caring for children with schizophrenia who had provided such care for more than one year. They were interviewed in-depth, and Strauss and Corbin’s grounded theory approach was used for collecting and analyzing.
Hopeful endless caring to maintain normal life emerged as the core category, and consisted of three phases. Phase 1, Dealing with immediate care demands, involved mothers responding to their situation with supernatural rituals, combining treatment, finding medical treatment, and taking advice. Phase 2, Adjusting ourselves, involved mothers trying to adjust the caring and strategies, living situation, and their mental state. In Phase 3, Restoring self-balance, they adjusted their mind, tried to heal body and mind, reframed thoughts, and tried to get back to normal.
The findings provide a deep understanding of mothers’ adaptation process toward their caregiving over time, based on their perspectives. In developing a robust program to improve adaptation competency, mental health care providers, including nurses, need to understand what could be involved in the lives of caregivers, and take steps to realize each person’s uniqueness, and that adapting to caregiving is a process. Heath professionals thus need to adjust interventions to be most appropriate for the different phases experienced by mothers.
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