The aim of this study was to explore the childhood experience of living with a parent with depression from a retrospective point of view. Five women between 39 and 47 years of age, who grew up with a mother with depression, were interviewed about their current perspectives on their childhood experiences. Interviews were semi-structured and the data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Data analysis led to a narrative organized in two parts. The first part (retrospective understanding of childhood experiences) reports on feelings of desolation contrasted to exceptional support, context-related dwelling on own experiences, and growing into a caring role as a way to keep standing. The second part (towards an integration of childhood experiences in adult realities) evidences ongoing processes of growing understanding of the situation at home, coping with own vulnerabilities, making the difference in their current family life and finding balance in the continued bond with the parents. This retrospective investigation of adults’ perspectives on their childhood experiences gave access to aspects of their experience that remain underexposed in research based on data from children and adolescents.


Children, Caregivers/Caregiving, Depression, InterpretativePhenomenological Analysis (IPA), Parent-Child Relationships, QualitativeResearch

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