Struggling to Restore Normalcy: Thai Parents’ Experiences in Being Caregivers of Children with Early Schizophrenia

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Pichamon Poonnotok
Wanlaya Thampanichawat
Autchareeya Patoomwan
Sopin Sangon


                 Although caregiving for persons with early schizophrenia is a difficult task, little is known about the caregiving process in early schizophrenia. This study explored the caregiving process for children with early schizophrenia. Twenty-five Thai parents of children diagnosed with schizophrenia within the last five years were interviewed indepth at outpatient clinics and wards of a large psychiatric hospital in Thailand. A Straussian grounded theory approach was used and data analysed using constant comparative analysis. 

                “Struggling to restore normalcy” emerged as the core category that comprised six sub-categories: learning the diagnosis, facing shattered dreams, caregiving as an unavoidable role, struggling to control psychotic symptoms, struggling to deal with the illness impacts, and accepting a new normal. The parents felt as if they were facing shattered dreams after learning the diagnosis. They viewed their caregiving as an unavoidable role, as they strived for their child’s normalcy. They tried to control their child’s unstable psychotic symptoms by maintaining medication adherence, monitoring and managing the symptoms, and preventing symptom exacerbation and relapse. They had to deal with the impacts of the illness including their child’s poor decision-making, illness-related stigma, and their feeling of loss and difficulties. They gradually accepted the incurability of schizophrenia which was their child’s new normal. 

                The unique study findings add to nursing’s knowledge about caregiving for this group of children, and have implications for the development of an intervention program that nurses and others can use to help parents cope with caregiving challenges. Future studies should compare mothers’ and fathers’ experiences in caring for children with early schizophrenia.


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How to Cite
Poonnotok P, Thampanichawat W, Patoomwan A, Sangon S. Struggling to Restore Normalcy: Thai Parents’ Experiences in Being Caregivers of Children with Early Schizophrenia. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2016 Jan. 25 [cited 2022 Dec. 8];20(1):71-84. Available from:
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