Background: As well as having a higher genetic vulnerability to psychiatric problems, children of a parent with schizophrenia suffer a significantly poorer quality of life than those with healthy parents. In mental healthcare settings, the well-being of these children is still overlooked. It is crucial to develop child-centered interventions for them. This scoping review focuses specifically on children of a parent with schizophrenia to identify the likely impacts on their life and development, the factors and strategies that may alleviate negative impacts, and available interventions. Methods: We applied a systematic approach to search the following databases: PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Embase, Google Scholar, CNKI and CEPS to identify relevant English and Chinese publications focusing on children. Quality assessments of quantitative and qualitative studies were undertaken, using the Downs and Black instrument and the CASP Checklist respectively. Results: After screening, thirty-three studies were included for review. The existing evidence indicates that children of a parent with schizophrenia experience multiple deficits. Although various factors have been identified that can potentially alleviate their negative experiences, few are well supported with solid empirical evidence that confirm causal effects. The needs of these children are commonly neglected: little professional support has been provided, and the usefulness of the available support has yet to be determined. Conclusions: Based on the review, we argue that effective means should be implemented so that children of a parent with schizophrenia needing help can be identified and experts can overcome barriers to providing help. The potential modifiable factors that can alleviate the negative impacts of having a parent with schizophrenia on youngsters need to be tested and confirmed. Interventions should be evidence-based, schizophrenia-specific, and child-centered.
- Alleviating factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science