Author(s): Kumar SP, Dandona R, Kumar GA, Ramgopal S, Dandona L
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Systematic data on mental health issues among orphaned children are not readily available in India. This study explored depression and its associated risk factors among orphaned children in Hyderabad city in south India. METHODS: 400 orphaned children drawn equally from AIDS and non-AIDS orphan groups aged 12-16 years residing in orphanages in and around Hyderabad city in southern India were recruited to assess depression and associated risk factors using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-DC). Variation in the intensity of depression was assessed using multiple classification analysis (MCA). RESULTS: 397 (99\%) orphans provided complete interviews in the study of whom 306 (76.5\%) were aged 12 to 14 years, and 206 (51.8\%) were paternal orphans. Children orphaned by AIDS were significantly more likely to report being bullied by friends or relatives (50.3\%) and report experiencing discrimination (12.6\%) than those orphaned due to other reasons (p < 0.001). The overall prevalence of depression score >15 with CES-DC was 74.1\% (95\% CI 69.7-78.4) with this being significantly higher for children orphaned by AIDS (84.4\%, 95\% CI 79.4 - 89.5) than those due to other reasons (63.6\%, 95\% CI 56.9 - 70.4). Mean depression score was significantly higher for children orphaned by AIDS (34.6) than the other group (20.6; p < 0.001). Among the children orphaned by AIDS, the bulk of depression score was clustered in 12-14 years age groups whereas in the children orphaned by other reasons it was clustered in the 15-16 years age group (p = 0.001). MCA analysis showed being a child orphaned by AIDS had the highest effect on the intensity of depression (Beta = 0.473). CONCLUSIONS: Children orphaned by AIDS had significantly higher depressive symptoms than the other orphaned children. These findings could be used for further planning of mental health interventions to meet the mental health needs of orphaned children, that could include preventive, diagnostic and treatment services.
This article was published in Int J Ment Health Syst
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy