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Journal article

Psychological distress among parents of children with mental retardation in the United Arab Emirates

Journal article citation:
Social Science and Medicine, 64(4), February 2007, pp.850-857.

This study was designed to identify predictors of parental stress and psychological distress among parents of children with mental retardation in the United Arab Emirates. It examined the relative contributions of child characteristics, parents’ sociodemographics, and family environment to parental stress and psychological distress. Participants were parents of 225 mentally retarded children, of whom 113 were fathers and 112 were mothers. Measures of parental stress (QRS-F), psychiatric symptom index (PSI) and family environment scale (FES) were administered in an interview format. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to predict parental stress and psychological distress. The results indicate that the model containing all three predictor blocks, child characteristics, parents’ sociodemographics, and family environment, accounted for 36.3% and 22.5% of parental stress and parents’ psychiatric symptomatology variance, respectively. The age of the child was significantly associated with parents’ feelings of distress and psychiatric symptom status, and parental stress was less when the child was older. Parents reported more psychiatric symptomatology when the child showed a high level of dysfunction. Fathers’ work appeared to be a significant predictor of parental stress, indicating that for fathers who were not working the level of stress was higher than fathers who were working. Lower socioeconomic level was associated with greater symptom rates of cognitive disturbance, depression, anxiety, and despair among parents. Among the family environment variables, only the personal growth dimension stood out as a predictor of parental stress. An orientation toward recreational and religious pursuits, high independence, and intellectual and recreational orientations were associated with lower levels of parental stress. On the other hand, parents in achievement-oriented families showed elevated levels of parental stress. Implications for prevention, and intervention as well as parent training and system-oriented counselling programs are discussed.

Journal article

Profile of mental disorders among the elderly United Arab Emirates population: sociodemographic correlates

GHUBASH Rafia, et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19(4), April 2004, pp.344-351.

Investigates the prevalence, nature and sociodemographic correlates of mental disorders among the elderly United Arab Emirates (UAE) population. UAE nationals aged 60 years or more, were recruited from within a random sample of households representing the UAE national population, irrespective of the age of individuals in each household. Research Instruments included: (i) Geriatric Mental State Interview (GMS-A3): an Arabic version, using the AGECAT for analysis; (ii) A short questionnaire for relevant sociodemographic data. Purposely trained, Arabic speaking interviewers visited the targeted sample households to interview study subjects at their homes. The total number of screened subjects was 610: 166 (27.2%) in Al-Ain; 286 (46.9%) in Dubai and 158 (25.9%) in Ras Al-Khaimah. There were 347 (56.9%) male subjects and 263 (43.1%) female subjects. The mean age of the interviewed subjects was 68.6 (SD 8.3). The commonest diagnostic entities at the AGECAT syndrome case level were depression (20.2%), anxiety (5.6%), hypochondriasis (4.4%) and organic, mostly cognitive impairment with or without dementia (3.6%). Organic syndrome caseness, as an independent entity, showed significant correlation only to older age, while the rest of the mental disorders showed significant correlation with female gender, insufficient income and being single, separated, divorced or widowed. The GMS-AGECAT package proved to be a useful tool for psychiatric assessment among the elderly in this Arabian culture. The prevalence rates of mental disorders among the elderly UAE population were, more or less, within the same range reported by other comparable worldwide studies.

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