Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on mental health and perceived strain among caregivers tending children with special needs

Academic Article


  • Background: While COVID-19 outbreak has had adverse psychological effects in children with special needs, the mental state and burden on their caregivers during this pandemic has yet to be reported. Aims: The objectives of this study were to describe the mental health status and the change in perceived strain among caregivers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Methods and procedures: Two hundred sixty four caregivers completed an online survey that assessed demographics, use and perspective on tele-rehabilitation, homecare therapy, caregiver's strain and mental health. Outcomes and results: The prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress symptoms were found to be 62.5 %, 20.5 % and 36.4 % respectively. A significant difference in caregiver strain (p < 0.001, effect size = 0.93) was observed during the outbreak compared to levels pre-outbreak (pre-outbreak strain was measured retrospectively). Caregivers not using tele-rehabilitation along with a perception of it being a poor medium for rehabilitation were at greater risks for poor mental health whereas a negative perception on homecare therapy were strongly associated with higher psychological symptoms and strain. Conclusions and implications: This study identified a high prevalence of depression and significant change in strain displayed by caregivers during the COVID-19 outbreak. We identified several factors associated with poor mental health and perceived strain that can be used to help safeguard caregivers.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dhiman S; Sahu PK; Reed WR; Ganesh GS; Goyal RK; Jain S
  • Volume

  • 107