Mom's Depression Lowers Epileptic Child's Quality of Life

Family resources moderate, and family functioning and demands mediate, negative impact

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Depressive symptoms in mothers negatively impact health-related quality of life (HRQL) of their children with new-onset epilepsy during the first 24 months from diagnosis, according to research published online Nov. 3 in Epilepsia.

Mark A. Ferro, of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues collected data from 339 mother–child dyads participating in Canada's Health-Related Quality of Life in Children with Epilepsy Study, a prospective cohort study.

The researchers found that mothers suffered depressive symptoms at a rate of 30 to 38 percent within the first 24 months of their child's diagnosis with epilepsy. Children of mothers with higher levels of depression had a lower HRQL than did those of mothers with lower levels of depression. When mothers reported elevated levels of depression, their Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy scores did not have significant improvement over the 24-month period; whereas, those with lower levels of depression did. Family resources moderated the impact of a mother's depression. Family functioning and demands partially mediated the relationship.

"By adopting family centered approaches, health care professionals may be able to intervene at the maternal or family level to promote more positive outcomes in children," the authors write.

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