Mental health and well-being of fathers of children with intellectual disabilities: systematic review and meta-analysis

Dunn, K., Kinnear, D. , Jahoda, A. and McConnachie, A. (2019) Mental health and well-being of fathers of children with intellectual disabilities: systematic review and meta-analysis. BJPsych Open, 5(6), e96. (doi: 10.1192/bjo.2019.75) (PMID:31694727) (PMCID:PMC6854361)

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Caring for a child with intellectual disabilities can be a very rewarding but demanding experience. Research in this area has primarily focused on mothers, with relatively little attention given to the mental health of fathers. AIMS: The purpose of this review was to summarise the evidence related to the mental health of fathers compared with mothers, and with fathers in the general population. METHOD: A meta-analysis was undertaken of all studies published by 1 July 2018 in Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and EMBASE, using terms on intellectual disabilities, mental health and father carers. Papers were selected based on pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. RESULTS: Of 5544 results, 20 studies met the inclusion criteria and 12 had appropriate data for meta-analysis. For comparisons of fathers with mothers, mothers were significantly more likely to have poor general mental health and well-being (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.38, 95% CI -0.56 to -0.20), as well as higher levels of depression (SMD, -0.46; 95% CI -0.68 to -0.24), stress (SMD, -0.32; 95% CI -0.46 to -0.19) and anxiety (SMD, -0.30; 95% CI -0.50 to -0.10). CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant difference between the mental health of father and mother carers, with fathers less likely to exhibit poor mental health. However, this is based on a small number of studies. More data is needed to determine whether the general mental health and anxiety of father carers of a child with intellectual disabilities differs from fathers in the general population.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by a doctoral scholarship from the Baily Thomas Trust.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jahoda, Professor Andrew and Dunn, Mrs Kirsty and McConnachie, Professor Alex and Kinnear, Dr Deborah
Authors: Dunn, K., Kinnear, D., Jahoda, A., and McConnachie, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
Journal Name:BJPsych Open
Publisher:Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN:2056-4724
ISSN (Online):2056-4724
Published Online:07 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Royal College of Psychiatrists
First Published:First published in BJPsych Open 5(6):e96
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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