Date of Conferral
Researchers have extensively studied the experiences and potential consequences of being a child whose parent has a mental illness (COPMI). However, there is no consensus on the best way to support these children, in general or in schools. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effects of parental mental illness on children by using an ecological approach. Researchers have used ecological theory to illustrate the importance of internal characteristics, skills, and supports for children to enhance resiliency. This study looked at whether COPMI differed significantly from the children of parents of parents with no current or past mental illness (NonCOPMI) on the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP). The study also looked at whether there was a significant difference in the change in DAP scores for the COPMI compared to the NonCOPMI over time. A secondary data analysis of DAP survey results was performed and SPSS v.23.0 (IBM, 2015) software was used to complete one-way and two-way repeated measures ANOVA on DAP scores. COPMI reported lower DAP levels than NonCOPMI, and this difference was statistically significant in some areas of Internal Assets and Social and Community contexts. These findings suggest that COPMI may be challenged in these areas and are in line with previous findings regarding the challenges that COPMI may face and supports the continued use of ecological theory. By utilizing the DAP survey, specific areas where COPMI may benefit from additional supports can help professionals promote resilience among children. Proactive efforts like this, especially in schools, where increasing attention is being paid to mental health education, may contribute to positive social change.