Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name



Social Work and Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Gale Horton


The purpose of this study was to see how parents or guardians cope and adapt to their mentally ill relatives. Primarily, the study set out to identify coping and adaptive behavioral skills that will allow the parents of the mentally ill to better cope and adapt. It also set out to identify specific variables strongly associated with the conditions sampled, they were the family structure, isolation, loneliness, shame, anxiety, fear, psychotic behavior, lack of understanding, anger, quilt, sympathy, compassion, ambivalence, community support and educational approach. The literature reviewed for this study revealed a number of studies that were mostly dealing with the coping and adaptive skills that will help parents to deal with their mentally ill relatives. The purpose was to explore the real life situations that families of the mentally ill have to endure while working with their mentally ill relative. Further, to determine other circumstances that contribute to the coping and adaption skills of these families. Forty-seven families participated in the study. The purpose of the survey was to measure the involvement that many families have with their mentally ill relative and how they cope and adapt with their behavior. The finding of the study seem to indicate no significant difference between the variables. However, many of the families could not cope with the behavior of their mentally ill relative. Direction for future research should include longitudinal studies concerning this topic and this population.

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