The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 12, 2019

Social Workers’ Support Skills for Parents with Mental Disorders: A Qualitative Descriptive Study in Child-Welfare Social Workers

Masako Kageyama1, *, Keiko Yokoyama2
1 Department of Health Promotion Science, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka, Japan
2 Department of Nursing, Saitama Prefectural University, Koshigaya, Saitama, Japan



In Japan, a half to one third of child abuse cases involved parents with mental disorders. However, support skills for these parents have not been established.


This qualitative descriptive study aimed to describe child-welfare social workers’ support skills for parents with mental disorders.


Eight social workers were interviewed, and each was asked to identify four cases (32 total cases); two were successfully supported, and two were not. Descriptions of support goals and content were extracted from transcripts, coded, and categorized.


Almost half of the parents with mental disorders identified in this study were diagnosed with addictive or personality disorders. Social workers supported parents in the following goals: “being able to consult when the need arises,” “living conditions with minimum level of safety and comfort for children,” “living arrangements suitable for the family,” “independence of the family,” and “growth of children.” Social workers supported more comfortable and realistic living arrangements for each family and supported them to live independently. The social workers supported the parents with the following support skills: “assessment of the needs of the family,” “assessment of and support to relationships with parents,” “assessment and support of growth of children,” “assessment and support in child-raising by parents,” “assessment and support for the stability of medical condition of parents,” “support through cooperation with other related agencies,” and “continuing support for being an independent family.”


Social workers had many ways of assessing/supporting parents with mental disorders. However, social workers must be more sensitive to medical conditions and collaborate more with psychiatrists.

Keywords: Mental disorders, Child abuse, Parenting, Social workers, Support skills, Child welfare.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 309
Last Page: 318
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-11-309
DOI: 10.2174/1874944501811010309

Article History:

Received Date: 28/01/2018
Revision Received Date: 05/6/2018
Acceptance Date: 12/6/2018
Electronic publication date: 29/6/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 Kageyama and Yokoyama.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Health Promotion Science, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka, Japan, Tel: +81-6-6789-2553, Fax: +81-6-6789-2553; E-mail:


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