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South African Journal of Psychiatry

versão On-line ISSN 2078-6786
versão impressa ISSN 1608-9685

S. Afr. j. psyc. vol.24 no.1 Pretoria  2018 



Prevalence of caregiver burden, depressive and anxiety symptoms in caregivers of children with psychiatric disorders in Durban, South Africa



Saeeda Paruk; Mayuri Ramdhial

Department of Psychiatry, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa





BACKGROUND: There is increased caregiver burden, depressive and anxiety symptoms associated with the care of mentally ill children. This may be influenced by child or caregiver factors such as socio-demographic and clinical factors and has not been explored in the South African context
AIM: To describe the prevalence of depression, anxiety symptoms and caregiver burden in caregivers of children treated at psychiatric outpatient services at two public sector hospitals
METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire study of 121 adult primary caregivers of children aged 1-17 years with mental illness using a socio-demographic questionnaire, Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 Questionnaire (GAD-7), and the Child and Adolescent Impact Assessment (CAIA) to assess caregiver burden
RESULTS: The caregivers were predominantly female (n = 96, 79.5%) and married (n = 72, 59.5%), with a mean age of¬34.99 years (SD 10.38), and 74% were mothers. Among the children, there was a predominance of boys with a 1:4 ratio of girls to boys. The most common diagnoses in the children were attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (n = 56, 59.6%) and autism spectrum disorder (n = 22, 23.4%). Fifty-four (44%) caregivers were depressed with a mean PHQ9 score of 5.75 (SD 5.98), and 65 (54 %) reported anxiety symptoms with a mean GAD7 score of 5.71 (SD 5.03). Mothers reported significantly higher levels of anxiety (p = 0.045) and experienced higher impact on feelings of personal well-being on the CAIA (p = 0.004) in comparison with fathers. Caregiver burden was predominantly reported in the domains of restrictions in activities (n = 40, 32.8%), feelings of personal well-being (n = 37, 30.7%) and economic impact (n = 21, 17.4%
The caregivers of children with ADHD reported higher anxiety levels (p = 0.023) than for autistic children. A diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder was associated with higher income impact (p = 0.004) and restrictions impact (p = 0.001) than for children with ADHD diagnosis in terms of caregiver burden.
CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms reported amongst caregivers suggests the need for improved mental health screening and psycho-social support programmes for caregivers, particularly mothers. Programmes should consider the impact of caregiving, particularly on mental health, income and social restrictions of caregivers



Saeeda Paruk



Note: A selected abstract from papers presented at the 19th National Congress of the South African Society of Psychiatrists in ‘Professional Psychiatric Practice: Medical, Socio-Economic & Cultural Perspectives’, 21–24 September 2018, at the CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa. The congress is hosted by South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP).

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