In the Face of Socio-Political Conflict: Mothers' Experiences of Hope Alongside Adult Children with Mental Illnesses
This study aimed to explore hope experiences among mothers living alongside adult children with mental illnesses in a socio-political conflict area. Hope is increasingly recognized as an important factor for people facing difficult situations. Mothers whose adult children struggle with mental illness carry heavy burdens which are especially challenging to hope. Those burdens may be exaggerated in socio-political conflict areas. To date, the mothers' experiences of hope have been, for the most
... een, for the most part, unexplored, not understood, and largely unknown. A qualitative methodology, based on Polkinghorne's (1995) framework of narrative inquiry, guided the study. Two Palestinian and two Israeli mothers were recruited from community mental health centers and hostels in Jerusalem. Tape-recorded conversations, hope collages, and field notes were used as the main sources of data for each mother and were gathered over the course of 4 months. To ensure credibility, narratives were negotiated through ongoing conversations and in follow-up meetings with each mother. Common themes were then constructed within and across the mothers' accounts. Five themes were identified: (1) socio-political conflict markedly threatened experiences of hope, (2) mental illness in a family member challenged hope, (3) hope was a process in motion, (4) hope reverberated through generations, and (5) hope was experienced by doing occupations in a spiritual way. Living in a conflict area threatened hope for the mothers. What inspired them to continue hoping was doing occupations in a spiritual way and recalling past hope experiences that were Fourth, I would like to thank my husband, my friend, Israel, who generously, kindly, and patiently supported me during this long process. Thank you, my love, for the opportunity you opened for me in seeing my future and, more importantly, sharing it with me and walking gently beside me. I also want to thank your children and their spouses Noa and Guy, Eden and Liat, Lia and Erez, and your two lovely grandchildren Nadav and Ayala for their love, support, and understanding throughout this process.