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Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 1993–2002 | Cite as

Anxiety and Depression in Mothers and Fathers of a Chronically Ill Child

  • H. A. van OersEmail author
  • L. Haverman
  • P. F. Limperg
  • E. M. van Dijk-Lokkart
  • H. Maurice-Stam
  • M. A. Grootenhuis
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Anxiety Chronically ill children Depression Parents Pediatrics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all the parents and patient associations who participated in this study. In addition, we wish to thank Biomedia/Artsen voor kinderen for the web design. Furthermore, we would like to thank Carline Tacke, Hennie Knoester, Lûte Kaales and Sophia Barrow for their support during the data collection. Finally, we would like to thank Ad Vingerhoets for providing the HADS reference group.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. van Oers
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Haverman
    • 1
  • P. F. Limperg
    • 1
  • E. M. van Dijk-Lokkart
    • 2
  • H. Maurice-Stam
    • 1
  • M. A. Grootenhuis
    • 1
  1. 1.Pediatric Psychosocial DepartmentEmma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Medical PsychologyVU University Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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