Mental distress in mothers of child psychiatric patients

Ehsan Ullah Syed, Saman Iqbal Zuberi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether caring for a child with mental health issues could lead to mental distress among mothers. Design: Cross-sectional study. Place and Duration: Outpatient Clinics of The Aga Khan University Hospital and PNS Shifa Hospital, Karachi, from January to June 2005. Patients and Methods: A total of 238 consecutive mothers bringing their children to child psychiatric and pediatric clinics were recruited over a 6-month period. As per inclusion criteria, 106 mothers of child psychiatric patients were compared to 132 mothers taken from pediatric clinics. They were asked to fill out a psychiatric screening instrument (WHO SRQ-20). Mothers' mental distress (score ≥10 on SRQ-20) and other potential risk or protective factors were measured. Results: Mental distress among mothers determined by WHO SRQ-20 was associated with their child attending a psychiatric clinic (odds ratio 2.51, 95% confidence interval 1.38 - 4.51). This association remained significant for age of mother being less than 30 years. No significant association was found with the number of children and duration of marriage. Conclusion: Mental distress among mothers is associated with the child having psychiatric problems. These mothers may represent a group who are at higher risk of depression. Early recognition and treatment of mental health problems in mothers may help reduce psychiatric morbidity in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-419
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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