Journal Article Mental Health of Parents as Caregivers of Children with Disabilities: Based on Japanese Nationwide Survey

Yamaoka, Yui  ,  Tamiya, Nanako  ,  Moriyama, Yoko  ,  Sandoval Garrido, Felipe Alfonso  ,  Sumazaki, Ryo  ,  Noguchi, Haruko

10 ( 12 )  , p.e0145200 , 2015-12 , Public Library of Science
The number of children with disability is increasing gradually in Japan. Previous researches in other countries have reported that parents as caregivers (CGs) of children with disability have mental health problems, but the actual situation has not been examined nationwide in Japan so far. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between mental health of CGs who had children with disability and characteristics of children, CGs, and household based on the nation-wide survey. This study utilized data from 2010 Comprehensive Survey of the Living Conditions, and defined children with disability aged 6 to 17. Individual data of children and CGs were linked, and 549 pairs of them were extracted. The Japanese version of Kessler 6 (K6) was used to assess mental health status of caregiver, scored 5 and over represented to general psychological distress. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the associations of interest. The almost half (44.4%) of CGs had psychological distress (k6 score; 5 +) in nationwide, and 8.9% of CGs might have serious mental illness (K6 score; 13+). After adjusting covariates of child, CG, and household factors, CG having a current symptom (OR, 95% CI: 3.26, 1.97–5.39), CG's activity restriction (OR, 95% CI: 2.95, 1.38–6.32), low social support (OR, 95%CI: 9.31, 1.85–46.8), three generation family (OR, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.26–0.92), and lower 25% tile group of monthly household expenditure (OR, 95% CI:1.92, 1.05–3.54), were significantly associated with psychological distress of CGs. This study encourages health care providers to pay more attentions toward parent's mental health, especially for in case of having low social support, and lower income family. Further research should examine the detailed information of child's disease and disability, medical service use, and quality and quantity of social support in nationwide to straighten the system for supporting services of both children with disabilities and their CGs.

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