The Risks Children Face


Children of mentally ill parents are often exposed to the following risk factors:

  • Poverty, inadequate housing, marginal social status, and cultural discrimination
  • Low educational and occupational status of the parents, including possible unemployment
  • Loss of persons to whom the child is emotionally close, particularly a parent
  • A two to five times higher risk of neglect and physical and sexual abuse.

These factors, in addition to genetic influences, increase the psychiatric risks for children of mentally ill parents.  Children facing these challenges may also suffer impaired parent-child interaction because of the parent’s illness. These genetic and psycho-social factors interact with one another. For example, genetic factors moderate environmental effects; that is, the effect of adverse environmental factors depends on the genetic substrate. Read more about a recent study on this topic at the link below.

Source: The Children of Mentally Ill Parents