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Pediatric neurofibromatosis 1 and parental stress: a multicenter study

Authors Esposito M, Marotta R, Roccella M, Gallai B, Parisi L, Lavano SM, Carotenuto M

Received 7 October 2013

Accepted for publication 22 November 2013

Published 22 January 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 141—146

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S55518

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Maria Esposito,1 Rosa Marotta,2 Michele Roccella,3 Beatrice Gallai,4 Lucia Parisi,3 Serena Marianna Lavano,2 Marco Carotenuto1

1Clinic of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, Department of Mental Health, Physical and Preventive Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy; 2Department of Psychiatry, "Magna Graecia" University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy; 3Child Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 4Unit of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy

Background: Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is a complex and multifaceted neurocutaneous syndrome with many and varied comorbidities. The literature about the prevalence and degree of maternal stress and the impact of NF1 in the parent–child interaction is still scant. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of maternal stress in a large pediatric sample of individuals affected by NF1.
Methods: Thirty-seven children (19 boys, 18 girls) of mean age 7.86±2.94 (range 5–11) years affected by typical NF1 and a control group comprising 405 typically developing children (207 boys, 198 girls; mean age 8.54±2.47 years) were included in this study. To assess parental stress, the mothers of all individuals (NF1 and comparisons) filled out the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form test.
Results: The two study groups were comparable for age (P=0.116), gender (P=0.886), and body mass index adjusted for age (P=0.305). Mothers of children affected by NF1 reported higher mean Parenting Stress Index-Short Form scores on the Parental Distress domain (P<0.001), Difficult Child domain (P<0.001), and Total Stress domain than the mothers of typically developing children (controls) (P<0.001). No significant differences between the two groups were found for the Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction domain (P=0.566) or Defensive Responding domain scores (P=0.160).
Conclusion: NF1 is considered a multisystemic and complex disease, with many still unrecognized features in pediatric patients and in their families. In this light, our findings about the higher levels of maternal stress highlight the importance of considering the environmental aspects of NF1 management in developmental age.

Keywords: children, Parental Stress Index, maternal stress, von Recklingausen disease

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