Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

The Clinical Profile of Mentally Retarded Children in India and Prevalence of Depression in Mothers of the Mentally Retarded

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

The Clinical Profile of Mentally Retarded Children in India and Prevalence of Depression in Mothers of the Mentally Retarded

Article excerpt

Byline: Amit. Nagarkar, Jagdish. Sharma, S. Tandon, Pritesh. Goutam

Background: Mental retardation (MR) has a varied phenomenology in different parts of the world. While studying MR, psychological issues of caretakers are equally relevant. A study to investigate the phenomenology of MR in Indian children and the prevalence of depression in their mothers was planned in a teaching institute in Madhya Pradesh with an attached tertiary care hospital. Objectives: The objective of the following study is to study the clinical profile of mentally retarded children in the study sample, prevalence of depression in the mothers and investigate various factors affecting it. Study Design: A cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: A total of 60 patients diagnosed as MR were included in the study. Objective data was collected in a special proforma and mothers of these individuals were subjected to evaluation with Beck's Anxiety Inventory and the 17 item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Results: The mean age of patients in the sample was 11.6 years, had received an average of 2.42 years of schooling, mean age at diagnosis of MR was 6.5 years and their mean IQ was 53. Out of the total 60 patients, 88% of the patients had significant co-morbidities. The prevalence of depression in mothers was 85% and it was more in mothers of, the ones with significant co-morbidities (OR = 2.67), severer forms of retardation and with higher levels of anxiety in the mother. Conclusions: Prevalence of depression in mothers of mentally retarded children in India seems to be much greater than those reported from studies around the world. Medical services offered to the mentally retarded should move from an individual level to the family level, especially toward the mothers, who are the main caretakers. Counseling services, treatment if required and regular screening of mothers of the mentally retarded should be included in the protocol for management of mental retardation.

Introduction

Mental retardation (MR) according to the World Health Organization has overall prevalence of 1-3% in the global scenario. [sup][1] This by itself suggests the magnitude of the problem in terms of the economy for a developing country like ours. MR also produces psychological, social and financial distress to the whole family, particularly parents, as they are usually the only constant caretakers. [sup][2] Mothers of those children, being the primary caregivers for their children suffer more psychological distress than other members in their families. [sup][3],[4] Other family members show comparatively less deleterious effect on psychological health, which may be related to the differing responsibility assigned to child rearing. Literature also reveals that fathers are less involved in caregiving activities when compared with mothers. [sup][5],[6],[7],[8] The psychological health of mothers caring for mentally disabled children is instrumental in determining the overall development of the child. Research has revealed that psychiatric morbidities such as depression and anxiety are common among mothers of mentally disabled children. Studies from different countries on parents of children with disabilities suggested that 35-53% of mothers of children with disabilities have symptoms of depression. [sup][9] The prevalence of depression and anxiety in mothers is said to be affected by several demographic and disease related factors which differ from culture to culture across the world. In the Indian society, it is mostly the mothers of the mentally retarded children who bear the burden and stress of upbringing an underprivileged child.

Aims and Objectives

*To study the clinical profile of mentally retarded children in the study sample *To find out the prevalence of depression and anxiety in mothers of children with MR *To study the relation between demographic variables and depression in the mothers of the mentally retarded children. …

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