Adult TOF Vuokko Wallace published by the Journal of Pediatric Nursing

We’re pleased to announce that Clinical Psychologist, University of Bath (and Adult TOF), Dr Vuokko Wallace’s Manuscript titled: ‘Anxiety and depression in parents of children born with esophageal atresia: an international online survey study’ has been published by the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.

Caring for a chronically ill child can be stressful and often requires additional care from parents, including daily medical care, attending hospital appointments and financial management. These additional responsibilities can impact on parents’ employment, social life, and health related quality of life. Understandably, parents with caring responsibilities are also more likely to experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Some previous research studies have found that parents’ anxiety and depression might be more linked with the parents’ circumstances, but others have found that child’s illness related factors, such as severity of the child’s health condition, might be important too.

The aim of this study was to find out how common it was for parents of children born with Oesophageal Atresia (OA) to experience anxiety and depression. We also aimed to find out what family circumstances were related to parents experiencing more anxiety and depression.

To answer our research questions, an online survey was developed for parents of children born with OA. The survey was disseminated by the TOFS Charity and 240 parents filled in the survey from 17 countries. Thank you for everyone who took part in the study and shared their personal stories. The survey had some multiple-choice questions and some questions with a free text box for answers. This study was based on the information collected from the multiple-choice questions.

We found that it was common for parents of children born with OA to experience both anxiety and depression. We also found that anxiety and depression were more common in younger parents, as well as in those parents who felt that they had less support for caring, those who experienced more stress related to caring and experienced more financial difficulties. These findings emphasise the need for providing adequate support for parents who are coping with the multiple challenges related to caring for their child born with OA. Interestingly, we also found that anxiety and depression were more common in parents whose child had OA related feeding difficulties. This is an important finding that calls for further research on the unique challenges related to the feeding problems and their emotional impact for parents of children born with OA.

The full research article is available for everyone to read online at:

Dr. Vuokko Wallace
Dr. Vuokko Wallace

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