Although there is a vast amount of evidence showing how caring for a child with SMI can negatively impact a parent’s psychological health, there is scant clinical evidence highlighting the deleterious physiological effects to the caregiver. Barker of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison addressed this specific dynamic in a recent study by examining the cortisol levels in individuals charged with the care of adult children with SMI.
For her study, Barker asked 61 parents of adults with depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar to complete a stress diary and submit daily saliva samples over a period of several days.
The cortisol levels of the participants were compared to the levels of 321 parents of adult children who had no mental health concerns. The preceding article was solely written by the author named above.
Barker discovered that the cortisol awakening response (CAR) of the parents of adult children with SMI increased less significantly half an hour after they arose in the morning than the control group. Daily Stress and Cortisol Patterns in Parents of Adult Children with a Serious Mental Illness. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Good
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