Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson, Ph.D., LISW


Social Work


This study seeks to identify the grief and acceptance experiences of parents of children who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. In particular, the study compares the experiences of parents whose children have been diagnosed with a ‘socially acceptable’ diagnosis to parents whose children have been diagnosed with a ‘non-socially acceptable’ diagnosis. The study involved 29 parents who were recruited through the method of snowball sampling. A qualitative survey was distributed to parents, with descriptive statistics analyzed through frequency distributions. Qualitative questions were analyzed through content analysis, with responses transcribed and coded by the researcher. The research found that there were not many distinctions among experiences of parents of children with ‘socially acceptable’ and ‘non-socially acceptable’ diagnoses. Experiences appeared to be quite varied and individual for all parents. Both parent’s supports and time since a child’s diagnosis did emerge as factors that could impact a parent’s experience and acceptance of their child. Implications of this research suggests the benefits to social workers educating parents and professionals, as well as encouraging parents to deal with the emotions and responses they face regarding their child’s diagnosis.

Included in

Social Work Commons