Sticking to the plot: the nature and meaning of family routines in the context of mental illness
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This qualitative descriptive study provides new understandings of family routines in families dealing with the stressors of adolescent mental illness. Seven parent and adolescent participants, recruited from a community child and adolescent mental health service in a New Zealand city, contributed to the data through individual, semi-structured interviews. Inductive analysis revealed two thematic clusters. The nature of routines comprised of four themes (More than just routines, Routines are a measure of functioning, Making it work, Sticking to the plot), revealing that routines function as an indicator of well-being of the adolescent, and provide stability and continuity in family life in times of stress. The meaning of routines encompassed four themes (Routines as an expression of control, Daily structure is protective and supportive, Changed meaning in special times, Identity expressed in routines), showing that significance is attributed to routines as facilitating control, protecting well-being, facilitating occupational balance, and expressing identity.