Prevalence and Severity of Depression among Mothers of Disabled Children in Palestine

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Aidah Alkaissi / Supervisor
Dr. Sabrina Russo / Co-Supervisor
Dr. Samah Jaber / External Examiner
Dr. Eman Alshaweesh / Internal Examiner
Dr. Aidah Alkaissi / Supervisor
Dr. Sabrina Russo / Co-Supervisor
Nemer Ahamd Nemer Hamamreh
Introduction: Mothers of children with disabilities often experience greater stress and emotional demands than other mothers do. Mothers of children with disabilities showed also more psychological distress than other member in their families, as they are the primary caregivers for their children. Childhood disability often imposes a social and emotional burden for children and their families. Aim: The aim of the study is to assess the prevalence and severity of depression among mothers of disabled children in the north of the West Bank in order to establish baseline data and suggest recommendations to policy makers and professional workers. Subject and Methods: A descriptive, analytical kind (cross sectional) study. About 200 mothers were included in the study divided in two groups, including 100 mothers of children with disabilities (age range, 2-16years) as a study group, and 100 mothers of normally developing children (age range, 2-16 years) as a control group. There were 47% girls and 53% boys in the children of the control group and there were 38% girls and 62% boys in the children of the study group . These children have different diagnoses with a 10% down syndrome, 18% hearing disabilities, 7 % physical disability, 11% speech disorders, 18% autism, 14% mental retardation, 12% cerebral palsy and 10 % other disorder The mothers’ average ages in the study group and control group were 32.6 (SD±6.3) and 31(SD± 5.7) years, respectively. A demographic information form and Beck Depression Inventory were administered to mothers of these children who met the inclusion criteria. The assessments were performed during children´s treatment in rehabilitation centers. Result: The prevalence of depression was higher among mothers caring for disabled children than mothers of non-disabled children in the control group. Fifty four percent of mothers of disabled children had a mild to severe level of depression and 18% of the them suffered from moderate to severe depression as derived from Beck Inventory score. When we compare between the study and control groups, the study reveals that there are many factors that increase the prevalence of depression among mothers in the study group compared to control group which include: child’s age <10 years, mother’s age <40 years, middle and low income, and un-employment.
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