Effect of Child Thalassemia on the Mental Health of their Caregivers
Objective: To find the effect of mental health in the caregivers of thalassemic children and comparing it to that of normal children.
Methodology: In this case control study was conducted in National Institute of Child Health from October to November 2016, the case group consisted of caregivers of 60 thalassemics and the control group consisted of caregivers of 60 non-thalassemics. Only the caregivers of thalassemic children were included while the caregivers of children with other blood disorders were excluded. A validated questionnaire with 2 scales was used. Data was entered in excel 2010 and analyzed via SPSS-19. Frequencies,percentages, confidence interval and P-values were reported for the categorical variables. The variables were cross tabulated against their PHQ-9 (Patient health questionnaire-9) and GAD-7 (Generalized anxiety disorder-7) scales to find out their associations. A P-value of 0.05 was considered as statistically
Result: In case group of caregivers, majority were mothers. 75% had consanguineous marriages. 85% caregivers were employed and 30% were suffering from a disease. 16.7% reported change in their disease. 61.7% of caregivers got family support likewise 63.3% of caregivers had social support.15% of caregivers had personal issues. On application of PHQ-9 on caregivers, majority laid in the category of mild depression. On applying GAD-7 score,36.7% had mild anxiety. In control group of caregivers most of those were their mothers too. 5% were employed and 35% had disease(s). 15% of those having any disease reported change in their health. 93.3% of the control group had family support and 85% had social support. When we applied PHQ-9 score on these caregivers, 61.7% of them were found to be mild depressive. After the application of GAD-7 score we found that half of them had no anxiety.Majority of both groups were in the category of <5 years of age.Nearly half of the children had positive family history of thalassemia.51.7 % have their transfusion sessions twice a month. Majority were diagnosed at a tertiary care hospital in 6-12 months.Some strong variables were found to be caregiver gender, caregiver employment, health status of caregiver and health changes of caregiver.
Conclusion: The study concludes that caregivers of thalassemic children have a higher incidence of depression and anxiety as compared to the caregivers of non-thalassemic children. Healthcare provider and society can play their part to help these parents to cope up with their parenting stress.