Muscat: Almost half of all parents of autistic children in Oman suffer from depression, according to a recent report published by the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).
The report revealed that 46 per cent of the caregivers of CASD (Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder) were noted to have depression.
According to the report, all indices of stress, depression, and anxiety were higher in CASD, compared with other caregivers in the control group and it added that, therefore, there are strong grounds to contemplate a mechanism to help such a vulnerable group of family caregivers.
Previous studies carried out in Euro-American populations have also unequivocally indicated that psychological disorders for caregivers of CASD are marked with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
The study aimed to examine whether there is variation in the performance of indices of stress, depression, and anxiety explored via depression, anxiety and the Stress Scale 21 among caregivers of CASD, caregivers of children with intellectual disabilities, and caregivers of typically developing children.
Omani researchers had three aims. The first aim of the study was to compare the socio-demographic indices between CASD and parents of non-ASD children.
The second aim was to explore the performance of indices of stress, depression, and anxiety among CASD and parents of non-ASD children.
The third aim was to delineate the relationship between ASD and indices of stress, depression, and anxiety after adjusting for potential confounders.
The case–control study was designed to examine stress, anxiety, and depression among parents of children, with and without diagnosed ASD.
In conclusion, the study indicated that caregivers of ASD are noted to have adverse psychological states that manifest as stress, depression, and anxiety.
“The finding is consistent with previous studies from different populations. If the present finding will fare further scrutiny, effort should not be spared to re-address some of the psycho-social needs of caregivers of children with ASD,” the study added.
The study was conducted by Omar A Al Farsi, Yahya M Al Farsi, Marwan M Al Sharbati and Samir H Al Adawi from SQU and the School of Public Health in the United States.
The study was conducted over the period of November 2013 to June 2014.