Departure scripts and life review of parents living with abusive adult children with mental disorder

Hila Avieli, Yael Smeloy, Tova Band-Winterstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Increasing numbers of aging parents are finding themselves in the role of caregiver for their mentally ill adult child due to global deinstitutionalization policy. The aim of this article is to explore preparations for the end of life in light of the life review process among old parents of abusive children with mental disorder. Method: Data collection was performed through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 20 parents, followed by phenomenological analysis. Results: Five different types of departure scripts emerged: a pragmatic departure script, a burned-out departure script, a dead-end departure script, an optimistic departure script, and a violent departure script. Conclusion: The parents in this study tended to interpret events in their past to fit their perception of the current relationship with their child, thus connecting past, present, and future into one coherent picture. Years of extended care have led to a unique aging process which does not allow separation from the child or the development of a sense of closure that characterizes the aging process. This calls for better insights and deeper understanding in regard to intervention with such families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Elder abuse
  • End of life
  • Mental health
  • Qualitative research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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