OJPsych  Vol.3 No.2 A , April 2013
Psychological effects of parenting children with autism prospective study in Kuwait
ABSTRACT

Background: Recent reports suggest that the prevalence of autism in the Arab world ranges from 1.4 cases per 10,000 children inOmanto 29 per 10,000 children in theUnited Arab Emirates. While these rates are lower than those of the developed world, which are 39 per 10,000 for autism and 77 per 10,000 for all forms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), it does not necessarily mean the condition is less prevalent in the Arab world. Objectives: Studies of parents with children with autism suggest that 35% - 53% of mothers with children show various degrees of depressive symptoms. However, many of these studies were conducted in western countries which still make little inferences about the prevalence of these stresses in Arab countries uncertain. No data are available on the use of the BDI on parents of children with autism in Kuwait. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of parental depression in families of children with autism and in control families. Subjects and Methods: The participants in this study were 120 mothers and fathers of autistic children whose children were attending the Kuwait Autism Center at the time of this study. They were asked to complete the Arabic translated version of the Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI). It consists of 21 symptoms or attitudes commonly seen in patients suffering from depression. The symptoms are rated from “0”to “3”in intensity. The following cut-off points of depressive symptoms were used when interpreting the results in the present study: the range of scores from 0 to 9 indicates no depression, 10 - 20 dysphoria and over 20 depression. Results: The mean standard deviation scores for the mothers of autistic children were 21.2 ÷ 2.9 and 10.3 ÷ 2.1, (p = 0.001) for the control mothers respectively. No significant difference were observed across the samples of fathers other than slight increase for the autistic group. Marital status did not affect the number of mothers of the autism groups who had elevated depression scores, but single mothers in both groups had higher elevated depression scores than mothers living with partners, (x2 = 6.4, p < 0.005). Out of mothers with autistic children, 32.3% had depression and 41.5% had dysphoria while, 10% of control mothers had depression and 16% had dysphoria, x2 = 6.3 (p < 0.001). Conclusion: It is clear from our findings that mothers of autistic children have higher parenting-related stress and psychological distress as compared to controls. It is important to identify and offer appropriate psychiatric support for parents who are depressed since this is a serious problem, and would appear to have the potential to disrupt the family, parenting and child. While problem behavior is not a core element of autism, it might rise to the top of the issue that have to be dealt with first in a clinical setting.


Cite this paper
Fido, A. and Saad, S. (2013) Psychological effects of parenting children with autism prospective study in Kuwait. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 5-10. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.32A002.
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