Depression and coping strategies among parents of children with cancer

Published: 5 August 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/j5sj9wg2ym.1


Background: Depressive symptoms have been reported to be more prominent in parents of children with cancer. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) and its association with socio-demographic factors and coping strategies among parents of children with cancer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) and Penang General Hospital (PGH). Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Participants were enrolled according to inclusion and exclusion criteria and assessed on their socio-demographic profiles and children’s details. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) was used to screen participants with high risk of depression. The diagnosis of MDD for those with high risk was established using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.), and coping strategies were assessed using Brief COPE scale. Results: A total of 162 parents participated in this study. 17.3% of participants screened high risk for depression were further assessed with M.I.N.I. The prevalence of MDD was 7.4%. Participants in the depressed group used denial (p= 0.000), behavioural disengagement (p= 0.002) and self-blame (p= 0.002) as their coping strategies more frequently than participants without depression. Use of denial was found to be the predictor of MDD (OR=2.12, p=0.008, CI=1.22, 3.68). Conclusion: Screening of parents of children with cancer for depression should not be overlooked.



Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


Cancer, Coping Mechanisms, Child, Depression of Adult, Parent