Parents At Risk Of Mental Health Issues If They Have A Child With Epilepsy

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Epilepsy does not just affect the individual diagnosed but their family, friends, colleagues and aquaintances. A new study has shown that parents, and particularly mothers, are at greater risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression if they have a child diagnosed with epilepsy. And this is especially the case where the child also has behavioural problems. If people at risk of developing mental health issues can be identified early then appropriate interventions can be introduced early: For more information about this collaborative study.

 

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in parents of young children with epilepsy: A case controlled population-based study:

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There is limited population-based data on parental mental health in epilepsy.

Mothers were significantly more likely to score in the at-risk range than fathers.

Mothers in group with epilepsy were more depressed than mothers in comparison group.

Parental mental health difficulties were related to child behavioral difficulties.

Interventions are needed to improve parental mental health in childhood epilepsy.

Abstract

The objective was to provide population-based data on depression, anxiety, and stress in parents of young children with epilepsy and to compare findings with those of parents of developmental-, age-, and gender-matched children with nonepilepsy-related neurodisability (neurological and/or neurodevelopmental concerns). The parents (mothers and fathers) of 47 (89% ascertainment) young children (1–7 years) with epilepsy in a defined geographical area of the UK completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales – Short Form (DASS-21), a screening measure for depression, anxiety, and stress. The responses of parents of children with epilepsy were compared with parents of developmental-, age-, and gender-matched children with nonepilepsy-related neurodisability (n = 48). Factors associated with parental symptoms were analyzed using regression. In the group with epilepsy, 47 mothers and 39 fathers completed the DASS-21. Seventy-two percent of mothers scored in the at-risk range on at least one DASS-21 subscale (Fathers 49%). Mothers of children with epilepsy were significantly more likely to score in the at risk range than fathers on depression (55% vs. 33%), anxiety (47% vs. 26%), and stress (55% vs. 31%) subscales (all p < 0.05). Mothers of children with epilepsy were also significantly more likely to score in the at-risk range than mothers of children with neurodisability on measures of depression (p = 0.005) and stress (p = 0.03). There was not a significant difference between fathers in both groups on any measures. In the group with epilepsy, increased child emotional–behavioral difficulties were associated with increased DASS-21 scores on multivariable analysis (p = 0.04). Mothers of young children with epilepsy are at high risk for mental health difficulties, and all should be screened for such difficulties. There is a need to explore what parent and/or child focused interventions might be useful to reduce the mental health difficulties reported by mothers of young children with epilepsy.

Source : sciencedirect.com

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