Dinâmicas e recursos de recuperação
: coping familiar e potencial de recovery na doença mental

  • Ana Rita Santos Dezoito (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The conceptualization of the mental illness experience in the family has evolved together with the improvement of intervention, identifying resources that can contribute to the well-being and individual recovery. The present research, which adopted a qualitative and exploratory design, has as main objectives to characterize the resources and strategies used by families living with mental illness and to study their possible relation to the recovery potential. Participated in the study 24 individuals: 12 with mental illness (eight men and four women, M= 37 years old, SD=10.76) who are integrated in sociooccupational and rehabilitation care-services, and vocational training located in Lisbon and center regions of Portugal, and their caregivers (eight women and four men, M=55 years old, SD=11.73). For the data collection were used a socio-demographic formulary, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to evaluate anxiety and depressive symptoms in caregivers, and a semi-structured interview to understand the experiences and perceptions of the participants on their mental illness experience. The results of the thematic analysis showed a significant positive dimension in the families’ experience, although the coexistence of positive and negative components. A contextual approach to family experience was taken, which identified stressful events, such as the occurrence of other illness and addiction problems, distressing other family members and happening at the same time with mental illness’ experience. The way that families experience the process of care seems to determine the kind of strategies used. The caregivers reported predominant use of coping strategies focused on adaptation to the illness and the promotion of person’s skills. Consequently, these strategies were identified as having potential beneficial effects in the recovery process. The family relationship and the cohabitation between participants, the age of the person with mental illness and the diagnosis time seem to be protective factors related to the studied phenomena. This study points out the practical implications of early intervention with families, promoting their resources and taking into account the characteristics of each family system. Future researches are necessary to test these results in larger samples and different contexts.
Date of Award2015
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorRita Francisco (Supervisor)


  • Recovery
  • Mental illness
  • Family resources
  • Family coping strategies
  • Caregivers
  • Well-being


  • Mestrado em Ciências da Família

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