Anxiety and depression in mothers and fathers of a chronically ill child

H. A. van Oers, L. Haverman, P. F. Limperg, E. M. van Dijk-Lokkart, H. Maurice-Stam, M. A. Grootenhuis

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We aimed to determine the levels of anxiety and depression in mothers and fathers of a chronically ill child (0-18 years) and to study which parental and child variables are associated with anxiety and depression. In a cross-sectional design, anxiety and depression were assessed with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Scores were compared to a Dutch reference group by analysis of variance and logistic regression analysis. Linear regression analyses were performed to examine which variables were associated with anxiety and depression. Mothers of a chronically ill child (n = 566) scored significantly higher than the reference group (p < .001) on anxiety (Mean 5.9 vs 4.8) and depression (Mean 4.5 vs 3.1). Fathers (n = 123) had higher depression scores (Mean 4.5 vs 3.6; p < .05), but fathers' anxiety scores were comparable to the reference group. The percentages of mothers in the clinical range of anxiety (31.8 vs 20.7 %, OR 2.03, 95 % CI 1.46-2.83) and depression (23.0 vs 12.0 %, OR 2.76, 95 % CI 1.84-4.13) were higher (p < .001) than in the reference group. No differences were found for fathers in the clinical range for anxiety and depression. Practical problems in daily life (a: β = .33, d: β = .25) and parenting stress (a: β = .30, d: β = .32) showed the strongest association with anxiety and depression for parents as a group. Illness-related characteristics of the child were not related. Parents of a chronically ill child, especially mothers, reported high levels of anxiety and depression. Awareness about parental anxiety and depression in pediatrics is important as well as targeted interventions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1993-2002
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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