The level of depression and its related factors among the mothers with mentally retarded girl children in exceptional primary schools

Newsha Shirani, Mahboubeh Taebi, Ashraf Kazemi, Marzieh Khalafian



Background: Nowadays, depression is one of the most prevalent mental diseases to which some individuals like mothers of mentally retarded children are more vulnerable due to their (children’s) special condition. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the level of depression and its related factors in these mothers.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 120 qualifi ed mothers with mentally retarded children who were from exceptional children girls’ schools in Isfahan. The subjects fi lled personal characteristics and Beck depression inventory assessment, and their level of depression and its association with some baseline factors were analyzed through descriptive statistics in SPSS.

Results: Results showed that 75% of the mothers experienced various levels of depression, of whom 25.8% suffered from minor depression, 24.2% from moderate depression, and 25% suffered from major depression. The results obtained showed that there was a signifi cant direct association between the intensity of depression and students’ age, mothers’ age, fathers’ age, the number of children, and the length of parents’ marriage and a reverse association between the intensity of depression and subjects’, fathers’, and mothers’ education (P = 0.004). No association was observed between mothers’ occupation and the intensity of depression. Meanwhile, there was a negative signifi cant association between fathers’ occupation and mothers’ depression (P = 0.02). About 33.3% of the mothers did not believe that their spouses’ and families’ psychological and mental support was adequate.

Conclusions: The present study showed that mothers of mentally retarded children are predisposed to depression. With regard to the important role of mothers in the family and, consequently, the risk of impaired health of the family members, especially these children’s health, prevention and diagnosis of depression and treatment of these mothers seem to be essential. Adequate support to these mothers plays a key role in reduction of the risk of their depression.

Key words: Depression, Iran, mentally retarded exceptional children, mother

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