Identity development of mothers with mental illness: Contribution and challenge of motherhood

Ron Shor*, Maya Moreh-Kremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Limited knowledge exists about the experience of mothers with serious mental illness in developing their maternal identity and the challenges they face in this process. This subject was examined in Israel in a qualitative research with 12 mothers. The results indicated the contribution of the motherhood experience to the development of positive identity and to the management of mental illness. The mothers described tensions between their efforts to maintain their maternal identity during periods of deterioration in their mental health situation, as well as lack of sufficient attention by their formal and informal support systems to these tensions. Mental health professionals need to provide legitimacy to the positive contribution that the motherhood experience may have on the women’s identity, as well as to provide them support with the effects that changes in their mental health situation may have on their sense of maternal identity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


  • Identity
  • mental illness
  • mothers
  • recovery


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