Date of Conferral





Human Services


Kelly Chermack


Social researchers coined the term parentification to describe parent–child role reversal and inappropriate familial roles such as adult-like tasks children are held accountable to complete. Previous researchers have not addressed two issues: (a) whether human service professionals [HSPs] adopt the destructive/maladaptive viewpoint or adaptive/resilient viewpoint surrounding parentification and (b) whether HSPs’ preconceived views and attitudes impact service delivery to parentified persons. Obtaining the perceptions of HSPs may allow more insight into what interventional methods need exploring when working with those individuals. The purpose of this generic, qualitative inquiry was to explore the perceptions of male HSPs regarding parentification and how these perceptions affect human service delivery. Data were collected through semi structured interviews with eight HSPs and analyzed by the use of in vivo coding, to search for themes and patterns. Six themes emerged from the analyzed data: Parentification Involves a Learned Understanding of Roles, Responsibilities, Instrumental Tasks, and Parenting Styles, (2) Parentification can be Positive and Negative, (3) Parentification is Often an Outcome of Changes in Mental Health, (4) There May be a Lack of General Interventions, (5) Interventions need to be individualized to meet specific needs, and (6) Human Service Delivery Process Needs to Consider Adding Potential Standard Trainings and Interventions. This research may contribute to the HSPs’ knowledge base, enable them to recognize and identify parentified persons and individual needs, and create policy and practice recommendations for interventions to promote healthy development.