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Context: Caregivers of children with heart diseases are faced with the long term care of these children and may suffer psychological illnesses as a result.
Aims: To determine the prevalence and determinants of depression among caregivers of children with heart diseases attending two Out-patient clinics in South-South Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study involving the use of the revised Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CESD-R) questionnaire. Data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and analyzed using SPSS 22.0.
Results: Ages of the participants ranged from 24 to 59 years with a mean age of 37.49 years (SD 6.973) and majority were female (79.9%). The overall mean CESD-R score was 8.61 (SD 16.18), ranging from 0 to 60. There was a significant difference in the CESD-R scores between male and female participants (t=2.362, p=0.02) with females scoring higher than males (10.24± 17.69 and 2.15± 3.13) respectively. Overall, depression was found among 23(17.1%) participants. Depression was significantly associated with the female sex (x2=7.006, p=0.009), a history of a mental health illness in the past (x2=66.496, p=0.029) and the marital status of the participants (x2=19.776, p=0.05). No significant relationship was found between depression and age, religion, tribe and educational status (p>0.05), history of medical illnesses (x2=53.006, p=0.538) or type of heart disease the children/wards of the participants were being managed for (x2=8.274, p=0.902).
Conclusion: The rate of depression among caregivers of children being managed for congenital and acquired heart diseases in this study is significant. It is recommended that caregivers of children with congenital and acquired heart diseases are routinely given relevant psychosocial support to prevent the development of depression. Routine screening for depression and appropriate intervention for those who meet the criteria is also recommended.
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