Thearticle under critique is titled A Ground Theory of FamiliesResponding to Mental Illness by Linda Rose, R.Kevin Mallinson, andBenita Walton-Moss. The research is based on the understanding thatin spite of the many years of study that give evidence on a family’sburden connected to the mental disorder of a loved one, only littlefocus has been provided on responses of those families. In this case,the authors came up with a grounded theory to explain the reactionsby these families towards severe mental diseases. The method used forthis study was interviewing where twenty-nine respondents fromseventeen families were involved for three times over a period of twoyears (Rose, Mallinson, & Walton-Moss, 2002). On that note, aconstant comparison was applied as the method of analysis of theresponses and the families’ aspects of living with the uncertaintyof such disorders was the primary area of consideration throughoutthe study. On top of that, several goals were set for the researchincluding mitigating the problems, controlling signs, and modelingthe normality notion among the victims. Consequently, the studyshowed that families were profoundly influenced by the socialcompositions of the mental disorders (Rose, Mallinson, &Walton-Moss, 2002).
Mostimportantly, the article presents a critical flow of ideas that bringout the most important points of research. In fact, there is thecreation of the desire to read the next section in the whole studysince the authors approach their concepts in a professional manner.In fact, they lay a solid basis for their argument in the statementthat “Inadequate and restricted access to care often means thatfamilies find themselves as the primary source of support to patients(Rose, Mallinson, & Walton-Moss, 2002).” In this case, theauthors adopted a qualitative research design that seems to fit wellwith the purpose that involved coming up with a substantive theoryand identifying aspects in solving the problems that were noted.Therefore, the whole process did not include numerical analysis butengaged theoretical approaches from the responses given by theparticipants. Therefore, it can be stated that the entire articlemeets most of the criteria requirements in presenting a qualitativepaper on such a critical issue of mental illnesses among familymembers and how those close to them respond in the process ofassisting them through their difficult times. The article is conciseand relevant because past researches have been done, but little isknown on how families respond to the situations over time.
Theauthors seem coherent in laying the foundation for the entire studyby providing a background of the paper. In fact, this can also bereferred to as the section that offers a critical literature reviewon the subject of mental illnesses and families. The researcherspresent concise ideas on the subject matter in an objective way sincethey seem to rely on facts. On that point, they acknowledge that“mental illnesses represent unique experiences for family members,in no small part because of enduring social and cultural climates”involving many aspects of life including secrecy and stigma amongothers (Crisp, Gelder, Rix, Meltzer, & Rowlands, 2000). The factthat the writers carry out a review of existing literature is a clearindication that they abide by the standards required in qualitativeresearch that there is a need to look at pertinent presentations of asubject matter.
Thebackground was meant to provide relevant concepts in the context ofthe study. Moreover, the basis of the exploration brings out thecharacteristics of chronic mental disorders and show how they affectthe families of the victims. In fact, it is at this point that theauthors note that burden on family members can be influenced bycaregiver features including age, gender, and culture among otheraspects (Rose, Mallinson, & Walton-Moss, 2002). All in all, thebackground of this research is a way of providing past explanationsand concepts of the subject matter, which is one of the criterianeeded in qualitative research. Therefore, this article can be termedas logical and supportive of the ideas with evidence-basedpresentations.
Thestudy seems to be purely a qualitative one, especially with the useof grounded theory approaches. In that case, the method is justifiedclearly in the sense that it was found appropriate to the research offamilies and mentally-ill individuals, where the central area was theinquiry on families’ procedures in dealing with the disorderswithin their social and interpersonal settings. The interviews havebeen described as semi-structured and engaged topical outlinestargeted on various interests of study. However, the process seems tobe weak in the sense that it did not stipulate some of the measuresthat could be taken in case of failure of some participants to takepart. There is a statement indicating that one family that wasselected to participate in the interview did not see how the entireprocess could assist their ailing relative (Rose, Mallinson, &Walton-Moss, 2002).
Moreover,the sampling method was a purposive one where respondents wereselected to represent the variation in the areas of interest. Theparticipants also involved family members of hospitalized andsocietal-based patients. Moreover, theoretical sampling wasintroduced during the progression of the study, and it was at thatpoint that critical data was found to be helpful in the developmentof the theory. “Participants were parents (n = 13), spouses (n =4), adult siblings (n = 8), or adult children (n = 4) ranging in agefrom 18 to 73 years old (Rose, Mallinson, & Walton-Moss, 2002).”In this case, it is indicated that permission had to be acquired fromthe patients before their adult relatives could be contacted.
Furthermore,as a way of fulfilling the requirements of the qualitative study,data analysis was done through comparative methods. On that note, thesubstantive theory was formulated within a series of contexts,situations, tactics, and effects. Moreover, meeting the standards ofqualitative research needed that the credibility or trustworthinessof the data to be determined by the researchers. Therefore, anydiscrepancies had to be discussed to the point that all partiesagreed to settle on a particular conclusion. Furthermore, the processwas credible in the sense that the validity of the results was proventhrough a computer program developed for qualitative examination inthe maintenance of written records (Rose, Mallinson, &Walton-Moss, 2002).
Theresearch meets the ethical standards of a qualitative study in thefact that consent was obtained before any information could begathered from the respondents. Moreover, they were assured ofcomplete privacy of information in case personal details were needed.On top of that, the research was conducted in a language that allrespondents were familiar with considering that this involvedinterpersonal interaction with the interviewees.
Theauthors seem to present their outcomes in a more sequential manner ina design that appears to relate to their purpose of the study. Infact, they had to answer each bit of their research aim questions.The results are complete and founded on the contexts of therespondents. The outcomes concluded that “families revised theirnotions of what it meant to be normal to include their wish that thepatient be happy.” In this case, there is a need to note that theoutcomes of the research are not superimposed in any case on theircondition by the authors. However, the results of the study seem notto consider the fact that the respondents and families could have adifferent definition of normalcy. Otherwise, they mention that “therewas a remarkably consistent and compelling view that being healthymeant functioning as normal adults would function (Rose, Mallinson, &Walton-Moss, 2002).” The statement seems to contradict thepurposive sampling approach that was used to select the participantsthat ought to be certain and aimed at a common goal.
Thefinal part of this research has been presented as a discussion wherethe scholars explain most of the conclusions obtained from the wholestudy process. Nevertheless, there seemed to be a problem with theterm normalizing that “has been investigated primarily as a copingresponse of parents with a chronically ill child (Anderson, 1981).”The authors had to come up with a definition of the concept in thecourse of their study. Particularly, they had to rely on Rehm andFranck (2000), who identified the normalization concept in familiesof persons with stigma, who chose specific strategies to attain thegoal of normalcy. Despite all the strengths highlighted in this paperregarding the research, there is the failure to consider thediversity and complication of families` experiences. In other words,that could have provided a foundation of how health practitioners canhelp families of mentally ill individuals in their efforts to attainthe sense of normality. The research was, however, conclusive andlogical within the meaning that the anticipated results were obtainedand recommendations made on the subject matter.
Thearticle has achieved the aim of the research through a qualitativeapproach. Therefore, it was made clear that families were stronglyaffected by the community`s constituents of mental disorders. Theconcept of normalizing can be seen many times in the article and thevarious explanations that people have the same meaning that research,such as this needed to have an explanation that links with itspurpose. However, as much as the research article meets the requiredcriteria in qualitative design, much ought to be done in determiningthe diversity and complexity that can be noted in experiences ofdifferent families regarded as victims of mentally ill members.
Anderson,J. M. (1981). The social construction of illness experience: Familieswith a chronically ill child. Journalof Advanced Nursing,6, 427-434.
Crisp,A. H., Gelder, M., Rix, S., Meltzer, H. I., & Rowlands, O. J.(2000). Stigmatisation of people with mental illness. BritishJournal of Psychiatry,177, 4-7.
Rehm,R., & Franck, L. S. (2000). Long-term goals and normalizationstrategies ofchildren and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Advancesin Nursing Science,23, 69-82.
Rose,L., Mallinson, R. K., & Walton-Moss, B. (2002). A grounded theoryof families responding to mental illness. WesternJournal of Nursing Research, 24(5),516-536.