Eur J Pediatr Surg
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1740978
Original Article

Mental Health of Siblings of Children with Rare Congenital Surgical Diseases during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Johannes Boettcher
1   Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
2   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
Rojin Nazarian
2   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
Mareike Fuerboeter
2   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
Anna Liedtke
1   Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
Silke Wiegand-Grefe
1   Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
Konrad Reinshagen
2   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
,
2   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
3   Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Medical Center Mannheim, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding The research leading to these results received funding from the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) under grant number 01NVF17028. The funders had no role in the design of the study; the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; the writing of the manuscript; or the decision to publish the results.

Abstract

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our society, particularly vulnerable groups, such as families with children suffering from rare diseases. However, the psychosocial influences of COVID-19 on the healthy siblings of children with rare diseases have not been investigated yet. Thus, the study aimed to evaluate the mental health of healthy siblings of children with rare congenital surgical diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and methods Siblings of children with rare congenital surgical diseases were investigated cross-sectionally between April 2020 and April 2021. Data on mental health were collected using the parent-version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Results Out of 104 families, 81 (77.88%) participated in the survey. Healthy siblings presented with comparable levels of emotional and behavioral difficulties compared with population norms before the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared with studies that surveyed child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents of siblings in this study reported a significantly lower impairment rate. Psychosocial and disease-specific risk factors of the respective outcomes in healthy siblings were identified through regression analysis models.

Conclusion In general, health-care professionals should be aware of the possibility of siblings' mental health being at risk. Therefore, screening for psychosocial deficits may be essential in preventing psychiatric disorders in this population, especially during pandemics.

Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04382820 (registered April 8, 2020)

Financial Disclosure

None.


Availability of Data and Materials

The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


These authors have contributed equally and share the first authorship.




Publication History

Received: 03 August 2021

Accepted: 21 October 2021

Publication Date:
31 December 2021 (online)

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