Anxiety and Quality of Life of Parents with Children Diagnosed with an Anorectal Malformation or Hirschsprung Disease

Marieke Witvliet, Christine Sleeboom, Justin de Jong, Anton van Dijk, Sander Zwaveling, Alida van der Steeg*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    AimThe aim of this study was to investigate the difference in anxiety and quality of life (QOL) between mothers and fathers of children with anorectal malformations (ARM) or Hirschsprung disease (HD). In addition, anxiety of parents of newborns was compared with parents of children in the age-group of 10 to 13 years.

    MethodsParents of 44 patients with ARM or HD completed the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-BREF (26 items) and the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-trait 10 items, STAI-state 6 items). They were divided into two groups according to their children's age (0-4 years and 10-13 years).

    ResultsOverall mothers scored significantly worse than fathers on state anxiety (p=0.005). Trait anxiety was not significantly different between mothers and fathers. The psychological domain of the WHOQOL-BREF was significantly different between parents (p=0.016), with mothers scoring worse. Dividing the group in newborns and school going children mothers of newborns showed significantly more state anxiety compared with fathers of newborns (p=0.016). In the group of older children, both anxiety and QOL were not significantly different between fathers and mothers. Comparing mothers of newborns with mothers of older children, the first group scored higher on state anxiety, but this difference was not significant (p=0.138; 95% confidence interval, 0.535-3.717).

    ConclusionsMothers of newborns have a higher level of anxiety than fathers of newborns with ARM or HD. When children with ARM or HD become older, this difference in anxiety between parents is not significant anymore. This may be explained by coping strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)70-74
    Number of pages5
    JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatric Surgery
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2014


    • anorectal malformation
    • Hirschsprung disease
    • quality of life
    • trait anxiety
    • state anxiety
    • SCALE


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