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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2011 June;52(2):81-7

language: English

Parental stress in congenital heart disease

Montis S., Tumbarello R.

Pediatric Cardiology Division, “G. Brotzu” Hospital, Cagliari, Italy


AIM:The aim of our study was to analyze the emotional conditions of mothers and fathers once child is diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD).
METHODS: In order to check the parental stress of 54 parents of children with severe CHD, we submitted them the Impact Event Scale (IES), and the Parenting Stress Index.
RESULTS:The IES-R, the total score, the Intrusion and Arousal subtest showed a higher score for the mothers than the fathers (P<0.05). The PSI-SF like the total score and the Parental Distress Scale an showed a higher score for the mothers of children with CHD than the fathers (P<0.05). In the Total score and in the Difficult Child scale there was a higher score for the mothers of children with CHD than mothers of healthy children (P<0.05).
CONCLUSION: The psychological impact of the management of a children with a severe CHD seems to be stronger on the mothers than on the fathers. The mothers live a psychological distress and their emotional conditions reflect on their rule as a parent, which is perceived with insecurity and anxiety as compared to fathers and even on the image of their children who is perceived by mothers like a difficult son if compared to others children.

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