The aim of the study was to explore relationships between sense of coherence (SOC) and perceived power in families with an adult child – healthy or with mental disorders. Using questionnaire techniques 124 families with a healthy adult child and 45 families with a mentally ill child were examined. Global SOC was found to be significantly lower in mentally ill children than in healthy ones, while the adult child's power in the family was self-rated similarly in both groups studied. Mothers from clinical families ascribed less power to the child than did mothers from healthy families. Fathers asked in the two groups about the expected extent of their children's power differed: fathers of mentally ill children would give them more power than fathers of healthy children. Moreover, in healthy families the child's global sense of coherence turned out to be the higher the more power he/she had. In schizophrenic families the psychotic child's SOC was related to his/ her power as perceived by the mother: the greater extent of the child's power in maternal perception, the stronger was his/her sense of coherence.