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ORIGINAL RESEARCH REPORT
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96-102

Psychological distress and perceived stress, among mothers of infants with orofacial clefts in a tertiary hospital in Lagos, Nigeria


1 Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Yewande Olufunmilayo Oshodi
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1595-9587.169689

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Background: Arrival of a child with cleft lip or palate is characterized by mixed feelings in the parents. The aim of the study was to determine the magnitude of psychological distress, attributional beliefs on causation, perceived stress symptoms in mothers of infants with cleft lip and palate. Subjects and Methods: Questionnaires about causal beliefs (MCA), the General health questionnaire-version 12 and Perceived stress Scale (PSS) were administered to mothers of babies with cleft lip and palate. Results: Psychological distress was noted in 12 (23.1%) of the cases. On the PSS scale, 9 (17.9%) of the mothers had the perception of more than average stress. A higher proportion of mothers with more than average perceived stress had combined cleft lip and palate (66.7%). Many mothers (n = 43, 82.7%) had no understanding of the cause of their childs deformity. There was a significant relationship between the presence of Psychological distress and the mothers perception of stress (P < 0.005). Thirty-eight (73%) of mothers who had cleft babies admitted to subjective feelings of misery and depression in relation to coping with the deformity and this was significantly associated with the experience of psychological distress (P = 0.016) with 9 (75%) of them having suggestive scores on the GHQ. Also among these mothers those who reported more perceptions of stress also seemed to endorse more subjective feelings of depression (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Mothers of babies with cleft lip and palate can go through difficult emotions that make them perceive their role as being stressful. This has implications on their overall emotional wellbeing. Early maternal mental health screening, health education explaining causation are useful strategies that can be embedded in protocols to help promote both maternal and child mental health in this special population group.


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