Impact of mental illness in families of mental health professionals

Harriet P. Lefley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Family burden and coping strategies were investigated in 84 experienced mental health professionals with family members suffering from chronic major mental illnesses. The sample was nationally recruited from ads in professional journals. Personal reactions of respondents involved cognitive and attitudinal changes in conceptions of psychotic disorders and guarded relations with colleagues with respect to self-disclosure and case involvement. Financial and emotional burdens were substantial, with ongoing stressful life events, aversive patient behaviors, and poor treatment histories. In rating family coping strategies, mental health professionals showed a high degree of concordance with nonprofessional family members in assigning priority to education on symptoms, medications, and patient management techniques. Involvement with self-help groups and physical separation from patients were rated higher than individual or family therapy as aids in coping for families of the mentally ill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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