2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Cara Gallegos



The purpose of this study is to describe depression and quality of life of parents caring for a child with a chronic illness or condition.


Over 14.6 million children experience a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional deficit (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). Parents with children with a chronic condition are often placed in situations where the majority of the responsibility for providing caregiving duties to their child’s chronic illness is placed on them. These parents often experience high stress, depression, and caregiver burnout, however, the effects of this increased responsibility on parents has rarely been studied. It has been reported that only 50% of parents, who double as primary caregivers for their chronically ill children, report adequate coping (HRSA, 2011). Additionally, it has been shown that in families where the maternal figure experiences depression, family members experience higher rates of mood disorders, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other emotional deficits (Goodman et al., 2011; National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2009).


This cross sectional descriptive study recruited parents from a local nonprofit organization. Parents answered a questionnaire that included demographic information, Beck’s Depression Inventory, and World Health Organization (WHO) Brief Quality of Life Scale.


Thirty-two participants have completed the survey. Preliminary data suggests that parents of a chronically ill child experience high rates of depression and lowered quality of life. Further analysis will explore a relationship between quality of life and depression.


The effects of caring for a chronically ill child can be long reaching, and may lead to depression and anxiety. These factors may have negative implications on overall family dynamics. Caring for families is important and nurses can provide resources to help parents cope with the stress of having a child with special healthcare needs.



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