Depression among Parents of Children with Chronic and Disabling Disease

Document Type: Original Article(s)

Authors

Department of Psychiatry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Abstract

Background: The parent’s awareness about chronic disabling disease in their children definitely distresses the parents. Children of such parents show behavior & cognitive disturbances with long term negative impact on the family. Objective: The present study was carried out to investigate the prevalence of depression in parents of disabled children. Methods: Following a cross-sectional study, 50 parents of children with chronic disease as target group & 50 parents of children with an acute disease as control group were selected randomly, they were asked to take part in a structured interview & their depression’s score was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Data analysis was performed by Student’s t test and ANOVA using SPSS software. Results: Depression scores were higher in those who had a child with chronic disease than in the control group (P<0.001).  Depression scores were also higher in those who had a leukemic child than other non-leukemic chronic disease (P<0.002).  Lower socioeconomic (SES) & parents with lower education level also showed a higher level of depression. Conclusion: When comparing psychopathology in parents of children with chronic disease with that of children with an acute disease, significant differences were observed in depression level.  This study emphasizes the necessity of active psychosocial intervention in those parents who have disabled children.