STRESS, EMOTIONS, AND COPING: THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF PRIMARY CAREGIVERS WHO RAISE ADOLESCENTS WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER
Asian Journal of Advances in Medical Science,
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the relationship between primary caregivers and their adolescents who have bipolar disorder and the caregivers’ coping and adapting skills in handling their adolescents’ behaviors. The caregivers’ perceptions of their coping and adapting skills were interpreted and analyzed through transcribing, coding, and mapping processes by using Creswell’s six-coding step strategy . The data were analyzed using Blumer’s  symbolic interaction, and constructs from R. Lazarus’s  stress and emotion theory, Selye’s  stress theory, and R. Lazarus and Folkman’s  transactional model of stress and coping provided the foundation of this phenomenological study to explore the stress and emotions of the primary caregivers of adolescents with bipolar disorder. Sixteen caregivers from North Carolina were selected by purposive sampling (snowball sampling) to share their stories during semi-structured interviews. The results of this qualitative analysis were examined using a phenomenological approach that took advantage of narrative inquiry and symbolic interaction that looked for emergent themes. Primary thematic results indicated that the primary caregivers of adolescents with bipolar disorder encountered stress, physical alignments, and emotional problems that often led to damaged marriages; strained or broken family relations; employment problems; and negative associations with neighbors, law enforcement, social services, and the school system. An unexpected finding was that the men in the study who were caring for adolescents with bipolar disorder were more likely than women in similar circumstances to prefer physical methods such as jogging and walking as ways to reduce their stress. No other studies found this specific finding. Results will be used to enhancethe current literature by providingempirical insights that support the need for further research into bipolar disorder among adolescents.
- Bipolar disorder
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