Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Mothers of Children with ADHD Compared to the Control Group

By Soltanifar, Atefeh; Moharreri, Fatemeh et al. | Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Mothers of Children with ADHD Compared to the Control Group


Soltanifar, Atefeh, Moharreri, Fatemeh, Soltanifar, Azadeh, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry


Objective: Attention deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder is a common psychiatric disorder with an early onset. Investigation reveals that mothers of children with ADHD higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptomatology than do mothers of comparison children. The aim of the present study was to compare anxiety and depressive symptoms in the mothers with ADHD children with control group .

Method: Fifty mothers of the ADHD children aged between 6 to 12 whom diagnosed on the basis of interviews held with psychiatrist in the first referral to sheikh Child Psychiatry Clinic. The control group consisted of mothers of fifty children without any psychiatric disorder. The selected mothers were evaluated with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory interviewed for the basic Psychiatric disorder,. Data were analyzed using t-test, ANOVA, Chi-square statistical tests.

Results: Our data showed the 20% and 10% of mothers had mild and moderate depression. In control group, mild and moderate depression was reported 6/7% and 3/3%, respectively. The differences between depression and trait anxiety in mothers of ADHD children and control group were significant. There was a correlation between intensity of the trait and state anxiety and the depression in mothers with intensity of ADHD in their children but the relation was not significant .

Conclusion: The present study suggests that the Intensity of depression and trait anxiety in mothers of ADHD children are more than the control group .

Keywords: Anxiety, Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, Depression, Mothers

Iran J Psychiatry 2009; 4:112-115

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood onset psychiatric disorders that is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity (1,2). ADHD can affect social, cognitive and academic performance of children (2,3).Without appropriate interventions, many of ADHD children experience problems both at home and at the school (3,4).

Being a parent to an ADHD child is a challenging and sometimes frustrating task (5). Dealing with behavioral problems of these children may exacerbate parenting inadequacies and social difficulties (6). Parents of ADHD children assess their family environment as less supportive and more stressful than the comparison group (7). They report lower parental coping abilities than other parents (8).

Dealing with different problems of ADHD children can have adverse effects on parents' mental heath (6). Some clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that parents, especially mothers of ADHD children, display higher levels of depression and anxiety (9).

Using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Beck Depression Inventory, Segenreich et al., compared the rates of anxiety and depression in a sample of Brazilian parents; the sample included the parents of 26 ADHD students and 31 paired controls. The results of this study indicated that mothers of ADHD children presented higher depression and anxiety levels (10).

In another research, authors evaluated the depressive symptoms, anxiety status and coping behaviors of mothers of 30 children with ADHD in comparison to 30 healthy controls. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were examined using Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI).The Beck depression and anxiety scores of the mothers of ADHD sample were significantly higher than the controls (11). Depressed or anxious parents tend to be withdrawn, bad-tempered and to have less engagement with their children (12, 13). Depressive symptoms may be associated with aversive parenting behaviors (14). Anxious mothers display significantly less positive affection towards their children than the control group (7).

Therefore, depression and anxiety in mothers of ADHD children can be one of the consequences of dealing with the problems of these children and in turn can exacerbate their behavioral challenges, making family environment more stressful. …

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