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Depressive symptoms and of anxiety among mothers of pediatric inpatients at a university hospital

INTRODUCTION: The treatment and recovery of a pediatric inpatient may take a long time. During the child's stay in the hospital environment, it is not uncommon to observe the development of emotional crises affecting both child and mother. OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms among mothers who had their children admitted to the pediatric ward of a university hospital in southern Brazil. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study in which the Beck Anxiety and Depression Inventories (BAI and BDI, respectively) were administered to 140 women between 31 and 365 days postpartum. The cut-off point of > 20 on BAI and BDI was used to define the presence of anxiety and depression. RESULTS: Of the 140 women assessed, 43 (30.7%) presented BDI scores > 20, and were therefore considered to be depressed; 46 (32.9%) showed BAI scores > 20, and were considered to be anxious; 26 women (18.6%) presented both depression and anxiety. Women living under more vulnerable social conditions more frequently presented both depression and anxiety, namely younger women, those with lower education levels and lower income, those who did not have private health insurance and women who had more children. CONCLUSION: The preventive action of multidisciplinary teams in the first months postpartum is necessary due to the high frequency of depression and anxiety symptoms among mothers of pediatric inpatients. Such action will allow mothers who are present at the hospital to be referred to appropriate mental health professionals.

Anxiety; postpartum depression; prevalence; hospitalization

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