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Research & Studies

Anxiety and Depression Among Parents of Children with Intellectual Disability in Pakistan

Citation (APA style): Azeem, M. W., Dogar, I. A., Shah, S., Cheema, M. A., Asmat, A., Akbar, M., . . . Haider, I. I. (2013). Anxiety and depression among parents of children with intellectual disability in Pakistan. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22(4), 290–295.

Abstract

Background: Studies have shown an association between parental distress and caretaking of children with developmental cognitive delays. There is little data in developing countries, such as Pakistan, concerning the impact of raising children with intellectual disability upon the quality of parent functioning and risk for psychopathology.

Objective: To assess the level of psychopathology, i.e., anxiety, depression and both anxiety and depression together among parents of children with intellectual disability (ID).

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. The study was approved by the Institutional Research Committee. Participants were 198 parents (99 fathers/99 mothers) of 100 children with the diagnosis of ID. Informed consents were obtained. The parents were assessed for anxiety and depression using DSM IV criteria.

Results: A significantly high proportion of mothers (89%) had anxiety, depression, or both anxiety and depression together as compared to fathers (77%) (p<0.05). Among mothers, 35% met criteria for anxiety, 40% for depression, and 13% for both anxiety and depression. Among fathers, 42% had anxiety, 31% depression, and 3% both anxiety and depression. There was a significant association between gender of parent and individual psychiatric diagnosis of anxiety, depression, and anxiety and depression together (p<0.05). A significant association was also found between mother’s anxiety, depression, or both and degree of ID of their children (p<0.05).

Conclusions: (1) A significantly high proportion of parents of children with ID has a psychiatric diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or both; (2) the psychiatric diagnosis of anxiety, depression and anxiety and depression together is associated with gender of parent; and (3) the diagnosis of anxiety, depression, or both in mothers was associated with severity of ID in their children.

Keywords

anxiety, depression, intellectual disability, parents