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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Families of the mentally ill, Families-Psychological aspects, Manic-depressive illness in children, Attachment behavior, Depression in children, Mentally ill children-Family relationships, Family environment, Attachment, Bipolar disorder, Unipolar disorder, Children


This study presents a quantitative secondary analysis of the effect of family environmental factors on 143 families divided into 3 diagnostic groups: 54 families raising children with bipolar disorder, 44 families raising children with unipolar disorder, and 45 families raising healthy control children. Using parent-rated data from the Family Environmental Scale, the study investigates whether family environmental differences are correlated with the child's disorder, disorder type, symptom severity, age of onset, comorbidities, and family history of mood disorder. Findings show families raising children with bipolar or unipolar disorder report significantly lower scores for family cohesion, expressiveness, active recreational orientation, intellectual-cultural orientation, and higher levels of conflict as compared with healthy control families. Implications for clinical practice underscore the importance of addressing family environmental factors when treating families raising a child with bipolar or unipolar disorder, and the need to consider attachment interventions with this population.




viii, 147 p. Dissertation (Ph.D.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-139)