Stress among parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a Malaysian experience

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Abstract

Introduction

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic debilitating illness with onset in early childhood. The objective of this study was to look at the impact of children with ADHD on their parents.

Methods

All parents with children diagnosed as having ADHD attending the Psychiatry Adolescent and Child Unit, University Malaya were included in this study. Their parenting stress was assessed using the Parent Stress Index.

Results

A total of 95 parents participated in the study. The proportion of parents who reported significant stress in this study was much higher than in most studies (n = 69, 73%). Significant correlation was found between the severity of the child's disorder (Children's Global Assessment Scale [CGAS] score) and the parents' stress level (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.05–0.51). Mothers were significantly more stressed than fathers (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.05–0.51) and non-Malay parents more stressed than the Malay parents (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.29–11.94). Parents with children older than 12 years of age were six times more stressed than parents with children younger than 12 years old (OR 6.47, 95% CI 1.55–27.01). Stressed parents acknowledged that having a child with ADHD was their biggest worry.

Discussion

Stress has marked consequences on any person and has important bearings on their mental health. Stress among parents needs be looked into when treating children with ADHD.

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