Depression and anxiety among parents and caregivers of autistic spectral disorder children

Mohammed A. Almansour, , Mohammed A. Alateeq, , Mansour K. Alzahrani, ,
Metab A. Algeffari, , Homaidan T. Alhomaidan,


To evaluate the presence of depression and anxiety in parents/caregivers of autistic spectral disorder (ASD) children, and to identify associated factors.Arabic translation of abstract will be inserted here on final proof


In this retrospective cohort study carried out between July and December 2011, parents/caregivers of at least one child diagnosed with an ASD (cases group), were recruited through the Saudi Charitable Society of Autism Families and the Autism Clinic in the Pediatric out-patient clinic in King Fahad National Guard Hospital, King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The parents/caregivers of a normally developed child (control group) were recruited from the Well Child Clinic at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh. We used a self-reported questionnaire containing questions on demographic data, as well as the Arabic version of the hospital anxiety and depression scale.


The study included 100 parents/caregivers, 50 cases and 50 controls. More than 50% of the control group was in the age group 26-30 years (56%), while 42% of cases were in the age group 31-35 years. Time lapsed since autism diagnosis was over 3 years in one-third of cases. Twenty-two percent of cases, and only 2% of control parents/caregivers had a history of psychiatric problems (p=0.002). Both the mean depression score, and the mean anxiety score was significantly higher among cases when compared with controls, p<0.001.


Autism is associated with burden and stress for parents/caregivers of the affected child. The demands placed by the disability contribute to a higher overall incidence of depression and anxiety among parents/caregivers.


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