Early-life otitis media and caregiver well-being

Altamimi AAH, Robinson M, Alenezi EMA, Choi RSM, Brennan-Jones CG. 10 Aug 2023 Laryngoscope; doi: 10.1002/lary.30949

Publication date: 10 Aug 2023

Keywords: caregiver, Otitis media, paediatrics, well-being

What is already known about this subject:

  • Otitis media (OM), or glue ear, is a common condition in early childhood. It is estimated that approximately 80% of children experience OM before age four, and approximately 26.8% of children will have recurrent or persistent OM (rOM). This condition is commonly associated with hearing loss, pain, lack of sleep and missed school days. It may also be associated with developmental delays. Therefore, caregivers of children with rOM can experience anxiety, stress, in addition to disturbed social functioning. Furthermore, several studies have reported reduced caregivers’ quality of life and general well-being in the early years of a child’s life.
  • While it has been previously shown that caregivers’ well-being can be impacted when caring for a child with rOM, the majority of studies have utilised disease-specific tools.
  • The aim of this studies was to utilise generic questionnaires that target the psychological well-being of caregivers, in addition to the general functioning of the family in the first eight years of a child’s life.

What this study adds

  • Methods and participants information Sociodemographic information of Gen 1 participants was included in this study. Additional information included caregivers report of rOM for their child (Gen 2) in the first three years of life. The questionnaires utilised in this study included the Bradburn affect balance scale, and the Family McMaster Devide – General functioning (FAD-GF) during the Gen 2-3-, 5-, and 8-year follow-up period.
  • Sample size: Reference group = 1607and rOM group = 340
  • The results showed that caregivers of children with OM exhibited poorer psychological well-being in the first five years of a child’s life. This effect was not observed in the eight-year follow-up. Similarly, no significant findings were shown for the FAD-GF during the follow-up period. This indicates that while caregivers can experience negative emotions in the first few years of life, this does not appear to impact the general functioning of the family.
  • This paper provides important information regarding the impact of rOM in children on the psychological well-being of their caregivers, especially in the first five years of life. This highlights the importance of considering the impact of OM caregivers in the existing model of care and incorporating support programs, especially for those who are severely burdened by the disease.
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