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  • Bielefeld School of Public Health

    AG 6: Department of Health Services Research and Nursing Science

    © Universität Bielefeld

förges 2: Supporting self-management of caring children using the example of families with addictions

04/2018 bis 03/2021

Project manager
Prof. Dr. Katja Makowsky

Project team member
Havva Mazi

Cooperation partner
Caritasverband Düsseldorf e. V. (Suchtberatung)

Project funding
Stiftung Wohlfahrtspflege NRW

Children and teenagers whose parents are suffering from mental illnesses, such as an addiction, have to face numerous challenges. Often in their early stages of life they have to take over various caring activities in their families. They fear isolation and stigmatisation, e.g. by their peers, and therefore normally endeavour to hide their parents’ mental disorder from outsiders. In addition, they are often unaware of the course and possible consequences of their parents’ mental illness. This situation can have adverse effects on the child’s health and development and leads to a higher risk of also developing a mental disease in the course of their life. The intention of this project therefore is to develop preventive nursing care interventions, which are aimed at supporting the children. The intervention is to relieve children by taking over care tasks, or to inform them of the possibilities of relief respectively, to enable social support and to inform them of the course and possible consequences of their parents’ illness. The intervention focusses on children and teenagers and is at the same time directed at stabilising family life. This way, a child should be prevented from suffering from a mental illness, and children and teenagers are supported to gain highest possible quality of life, autonomy and participation. 

The aim of the project is

  1. To pursue the question, how to design preventive offers for children caring for parents suffering from an addiction and for their families, in order to exercise a sustainably positive influence on the children’s health.
  2. To develop and test a nursing care intervention directed at prevention which is based on the information obtained and which will contribute to a maximum quality of life, autonomy and social participation for the children and their families.


  1. Literature research and systematic, method-driven analysis of existing offers for families with a parent suffering from an addiction. 
  2. Carrying out qualitative interviews with selected experts as well as episodic interviews with different members of families, where at least one parent is suffering from an addiction. The interviews will pay particular attention to the caring children’s situations. This way, the self-management competencies of children and their families as well as their experiences with support obtained so far will be gathered.
  3. On the basis of the results obtained a care intervention concept will be developed and tested in models in consultation with persons responsible of the health and youth support services.
  4. The validation of the care intervention concept will be effected by a systematic documentation and, if required, with the assistance of additional interviews with members of the target group. Based on the results, guidance will be developed for the further development and continuation of the intervention concept.
  5. Review and distribution of the results in presentations, publications and a joint project volume of the research network förges.

This project is part of the research network förges.

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