Preoperative Anxiety and Depression among Parents of Children undergoing Anesthesia and Surgical Operations in a Tertiary Hospital in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

A. T. Aggo

Department of Anaesthesia, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers, Nigeria.

C. U. Okeafor *

Department of Mental Health/Neuropsychiatry, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Introduction: In spite of pediatric surgical interventions being potentially curative, and the advancement in pediatric anesthesiology, the fear of morbidity and mortality still abounds among parents. Anxiety and depressive symptoms among parents of children undergoing anesthesia and surgery could threaten postoperative recovery. This study therefore assessed the prevalence and factors of preoperative parental anxiety and depression.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study comprising of parents whose children were scheduled for surgery at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria. Preoperative anxiety and depression were the dependent variables, and were determined based on the Hamilton Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS), a validated and reliable tool. Socio-demographic and clinical-related variables comprised the independent variables. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed at 0.05 significant level.

Results: The study comprised a total of 100 parents whose children were undergoing surgical operations. The prevalence of preoperative parental anxiety and depression were 58.0% (95% CI: 48.3-67.7%) and 49.0% (95% CI:39.2-58.8%) respectively. Prevalence of preoperative parental anxiety was significantly higher among emergency surgeries (100.0%) in comparison to elective surgeries (56.5%) (p-value=0.034). The odds of preoperative parental anxiety was 50% lower with increasing existing number of children (AOR=0.505;95%CI:0.258-0.991). Parental depression had significantly lower odds with administration of general anesthesia (AOR= 0.022; 95%CI:0.001-0.701), and having higher existing number of children (AOR= 0.505; 95%CI:0.258-0.991).

Conclusion: The prevalence rates of preoperative anxiety and depression in the study setting are high. The findings highlight the need for evaluation of parental anxiety and depression pre-operatively especially those with single or lower number of children.

Keywords: Parental anxiety, depression, pediatric surgeries, mental health

How to Cite

Aggo , A. T., and C. U. Okeafor. 2023. “Preoperative Anxiety and Depression Among Parents of Children Undergoing Anesthesia and Surgical Operations in a Tertiary Hospital in Port Harcourt, Nigeria”. International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal 19 (3):74-82.


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