Quality of life and mental health of parents of children with mental health problems.
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CitationNord J Psychiatry. 2002, 56(6):413-7
AbstractMental health of parents and their quality of life is likely to be affected when a child in the family has a psychiatric disorder. The purpose of this study is to assess quality of life and mental health of parents of referred children waiting for service at the only child psychiatric service in Iceland, with reassessment at least 3 months after first attendance to the service. In order to do so, 208 parents of 123 children waiting for psychiatric care were sent the Icelandic Quality of Life (IQL), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) and the CAGE screen for alcoholism. For reassessment, responders in the first phase were assessed again with the IQL and GHQ-30, at least 3 months after initiation of child psychiatric interventions. A total of 120 of the 208 parents (58%) responded in the first phase of the study, 49 fathers and 71 mothers. The mean (+/- s, standard deviation) standardized IQL T-score was for the fathers 51+/- 7.5 but significantly lower for the mothers or 45 +/-11.5 (P = 0.001) compared to normal sample of same-age women (T-scores of 50 are normal). Nearly 55% of women compared with 26% of men were psychiatric cases, scoring 5 or higher on the GHQ. According to a CAGE score of 2 and above 16% of fathers and 14% of mother abused alcohol. No significant change occurred in parents GHQ-30 or IQL before and after initiation of treatment. We conclude that mothers of children with mental disorders have poor quality of life, and high prevalence of mental disorders; hence child psychiatry clinics need to ensure that mothers receive appropriate care along with the child.
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