OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to develop a clinician-based
cognitive, psychoeducational, preventive intervention for families with
parental affective disorder that would be suitable to widespread use, test
its feasibility and safety, and define the areas affected by the
intervention. The intervention was designed to increase understanding of
parental illness and resilience in the children. METHOD: The authors
studied the first seven families (14 parents) to receive the intervention.
Enrollment criteria included affective disorder during the preceding year
in at least one parent, presence of at least one child between the ages of
8 and 14 years who was not psychiatrically ill at the time of
participation, and willingness to participate in the research study. The
intervention consisted of parent, child, and family sessions. Assessment
included semistructured interviews with parents about affective disorders,
standard ratings of marital satisfaction and therapeutic alliance, and a
recently developed semistructured interview to assess response to the
intervention. RESULTS: Overall satisfaction with the intervention was rated
moderate to high by parents. No harm was reported. Ten of 14 parent
subjects reported five or more behavior and attitude changes that they
attributed to the intervention. The most frequent behavior and attitudinal
changes reported were increased discussion of the illness and related
issues and increased understanding of information about affective illness.
CONCLUSIONS: The authors conclude that the intervention is safe and
feasible in families with parental affective disorder.