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Chronic Sorrow and Depression in Parents of Children with Neural Tube Defects

Hobdell Elizabeth
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: April 2004
Chronic Sorrow and Depression in Parents of Children with Neural Tube Defects: PDF Only


Chronic sorrow has been described in the caregivers of individuals with myelomeningocele, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, cancer, and premature infants. Most studies have reported small numbers of fathers for comparison with mothers. One unpublished study compared chronic sorrow and depression. The purpose of the current study was to describe parental chronic sorrow following the birth of a child with neural tube defect and to explore the relationship between chronic sorrow and depression. One hundred and thirty-two parents (63 mother/father pairs and 6 single parents) responded to 3 measures of chronic sorrow and 1 measure of depression. Multivariate analysis of variance demonstrated significant differences between mothers and fathers in chronic sorrow. In addition, a relationship between chronic sorrow and depression was demonstrated. Chronic sorrow is a potential barrier to parental understanding of their child's care and diagnosis. Based on these findings, separate assessments of each parent and timely interventions are warranted. Further research should include more than 1 measure of chronic sorrow and delineate the dimensions being measured.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: Elizabeth Hobdell, PhD CRNP CNRN, by phone at 215/427-5113 or by e-mail at She is a nurse practitioner in the Section of Pediatric Neurology at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA.

© 2004 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses