Prevalence and Levels of Depression Among Parents of Children with Cancer in Basrah, Iraq

Shukrya K. Al-Maliki, Jasim Al-Asadi, Akeel Al-Waely, Sabah Agha


Objectives: Cancer in a family member can be a major source of psychological disorders, especially for the parents of children diagnosed with cancer. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and levels of depression among parents of children with cancer in Basrah, Iraq. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between November 2014 and April 2015 at the Specialist Paediatric Hospital in Basrah City, Iraq. One parent each of 384 children with cancer admitted to the hospital for treatment or follow-up during the study period were invited to participate in the study. Age, gender, years of education, occupation, monthly income, place of residence and the overall number of children in a family were recorded. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale was used to identify depression and assess levels of depression. Results: A total of 336 parents participated in the study (response rate: 87.5%). Of these, 70.5% were depressed, 54.1% of which had major depression. Depression was significantly more common (77.2% versus 57.1%) and more severe (60.7% versus 41.1%) among mothers compared to fathers (P = 0.001). Parents with fewer years of education were more likely to be depressed; this association was significant for mothers but not fathers (P = 0.001 and 0.814, respectively). Depression was significantly inversely associated with monthly income (P = 0.001). Conclusion: The prevalence of depression among the parents of children with cancer was high. Depression was significantly more severe among mothers compared to fathers and among mothers who were less educated. Income also had a significant association with levels of depression among parents.


Cancer; Children; Parents; Depression; Prevalence; Iraq.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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