Fatigue and depression in mothers caring for children with spina bifida: Examining the role of child’s functionality

Güneş P., Di̇Kmen Hoşbaş B., Karamancioğlu B., ALTUNALAN T.

Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine (Turkey), vol.41, no.1, pp.47-52, 2024 (Scopus) identifier


Spina bifida (SB) has a significant impact on factors such as stress, depression and fatigue in mothers. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between depression and fatigue in mothers of children diagnosed with SB and the functional status of their children. The research was conducted with 75 children (53.3% girls; 46.7% boys) with SB (5.3% meningocele, 94.7% myelomeningocele) aged between 1 and 16 years (mean 6.34 ± SD 3.64) and their mothers aged between 22 and 55 years (mean 33.76 ± SD 7.06). Functional levels of the children were assessed using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), and depression and fatigue levels of the mothers were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory and the Fatigue Impact Scale, respectively. No significant correlation was found between maternal fatigue and depression levels and GMFCS levels in children with SB (p>0.05). However, 25.33% of the mothers had minimal, 64% mild, 8% moderate and 2.67% severe depression. It was found that 6.67% of the mothers had some, 45.33% moderate, 44% significant and 4% very significant problems with fatigue. Moderate to severe fatigue is reported by approximately 9 out of 10 parents of children with SB, whereas moderate to severe depression is reported by approximately 1 out of 10. Rehabilitation practices for children with SB should include psychological support for their mothers, regardless of their functional status.