Parents of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) are at risk of depression and anxiety symptoms, yet, they are an under-researched group. This national cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of anxiety and depression in parents of children with CF, and examined the associations between these symptoms and their child’s physical health and quality of life.
A total of 203 parents of children attending nine paediatric CF clinics across Ireland filled out a questionnaire pack containing: a background information questionnaire; the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D); and, the Cystic Fibrosis Quality of Life Scale—Revised Edition (CFQ-R).
According to the HADS, 38% of parents had elevated anxiety and 12% had elevated depression symptoms. Just over a fifth (20.7%) had elevated depression symptoms on the CES-D. Mothers had significantly higher levels of anxiety than fathers. There were statistically significant negative linear correlations between parents’ HADS anxiety and depression scores and their child’s pulmonary function, and between parents’ HADS anxiety and depression scores and their child’s quality of life.
These results indicate that parents are at risk of depression and anxiety symptoms, and that these are associated with the physical health and quality of life of their child with CF. The findings support the need for parents to have mental health screening annually in CF services, as recommended in international guidelines. There is also a need to integrate a family-centred approach into CF services with appropriate supports and mental health referral pathways for parents.