• Proactive Readiness Among Parents of Children with Chronic Mental Health Conditions

      McKinnon, Caroline R.; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (2013-11)
      Childhood mental health conditions are prevalent, persistent, serious, and complex. Families are expected to be involved in their child’s care, but may vary in their readiness for taking an active role. Proactive readiness is a new concept encompassing role beliefs, knowledge, confidence, and self-efficacy. Understanding the relevance of proactive readiness is a critical first step in supporting family management for mentally ill children. The study purpose was to describe the extent for which mothers of mentally ill children discussed proactive readiness. Data from a social support intervention study for mothers of children with mental health conditions (Scharer et al., 2009) were used in a secondary analysis to examine the extent to which mothers participated in a web-based chat room intervention and the content of their posts. A step-wise quantitative content analysis was conducted using a census sample of transcript data. Trained coders categorized mothers’ posts into one of four proactive readiness categories or as other content. Relationships between content of mothers’ posts, chat room participation, and demographic and health variables were examined. Over 3 years, 24 of 39 mothers posted approximately 5,000 messages. Mothers posted proactive readiness content in an average of 20% of their sentences (n=1190). Knowledge was the dominant content category, followed by role belief and much less frequently confidence of self-efficacy. Mothers in the lowest income group posted significantly more proactive readiness, role belief, and confidence content. Maternal race was significantly associated with chat room attendance and total posts, but not with posts per session attended. Proactive readiness content and chat room participation were unrelated to any other child, maternal, or family demographic or health variable. based on the findings of this study, proactive readiness appears to be a relevant topic among mothers of children with chronic mental health conditions. Further data are needed to provide details about the nature of mothers’ proactive readiness. Future researchers should consider using this study’s coding scheme as well as research designs and statistical analyses that would expand on the limited generalizability of this exploratory study. Nursing practice implications include a particular concern for low-income families receiving child mental health services.