Last Updated 16 Feb 2021

Schizophrenia and Depressed Mothers: Relational Deficits in Parenting

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The nine-page paper on parenting capabilities as compared among the Schizophrenic, depressed and well mothers are profoundly interesting and insightful. Central to the profession of Social work is the structural unit which essentially pertains to the family. The mother’s role is one of the most foundational ingredients that make up a home because the general expectation is that she takes on more of the nurturing role than any of the members of the family.

The article/research is said to be profoundly interesting because at the outset, despite some knowledge on depression or schizophrenia, the researches showed that there have been major areas that other studies missed especially pertaining on the parenting skills and practices when Schizophrenics or Clinically depressed mothers are the issue.

The paper opens with what has been very obvious in the study of schizophrenia; that genetics or heredity is the primary and important issue with the etiology of the disorder. However, the article is more than the previous discoveries on the influence of heredity. I wish to identify specifically what I find very important discoveries I made in the article.

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A. Because the article is a comparison between Schizophrenic and depressed mothers many details about their respective kinds of personality, lifestyles or manner of living were investigated separately and comparatively. For instance, frequency of hospitalization is more noted with the Schizophrenic women than with depressed ones (p.34). This is noteworthy because this information indicates the severity (in graduated scale) of their respective disorders. Of course compared to well-mothers, depressed ones are at risk, indeed. Hospitalization frequency is indicative of mothers who may have already been in trouble in a period of time.

B. Pertaining to the depressed mothers’  “highly limited ability to demonstrate good parenting,” in that they are likely to have difficulty in providing structure and discipline to their children,  which are exactly the things necessary and essential to develop children as well-adjusted and smart members of society. For example, inside the household, how will the mother do the routines in the morning concerning food preparation, attending to basic hygiene and health of children or even, when they become rowdy and quarrelsome with one another, how will she react to these scenarios? Weisman’s study pointedly mentions the main reason: the mother does not have the energy and the ability to be involved to do even very simple routinary disciplinary actions.

C. Implications on these? It is necessary that mothers especially the Depressed for instance, must get the necessary help and that which must address the root cause or strike at the heart of their “mental/emotional” sickness. Being a social worker, I will be one of the few people who will be the first to call on these people: single parents who seemed to have no options except to prod through life and just keep on even though everything for them is hopeless and aimless. I can truly say I am thoroughly benefited by the readings. I am grateful too, because I have the opportunity to avoid the pitfalls that some of the women had gone through.

All this is insightful because I have discovered that although both types of disorders have affective deficits, the lesser affected are the depressed types because she may still be able to “connect” with her offsprings unlike the Schizophrenic when not only is the mother severely disordered, other complications like the presence of hallucinatory tendencies typical of their case cloud her relationships with her children (Goodman & Brumley, 1987). Implications for my job include:

  1.  I know now how to deal with persons with various weaknesses especially those with problems as severe as Schizophrenia or even with mothers who have depressive problems; especially affective or relational deficits;
  2.  I have more compassion now with mothers or single parents who are poor and especially colored because they have the least access to care and their needs are often neglected;
  3.  the authors also discussed the other factors usually designated in cases of depression and schizophrenia and effectively pointed out that mother’s responsiveness account for most of the adjustment and proper functioning of children.

I cannot imagine enough those children (in the study) raised by single mothers with such a mental condition as theirs. My work’s significance has tremendously widened and deepened as I see all the individual cases and the problems that accompany them. The guidance I can afford their mothers pertaining to coping with their sicknesses and the needs of the children, and the institutional changes that can possibly help larger numbers are important outputs I gained from the informative article.


  1. Goodman, Sherryl H., H. Elizabeth Brumley, 1987. “Schizophrenia and Depressed Mothers: Relational Deficits in Parenting.”
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