Anxiety and depression among caregivers of young children with Congenital Zika Syndrome in Brazil

Natalie A. Williams, Pompéia Villachan-Lyra, Christine Marvin, Emmanuelle Chaves, Cody Hollist, Holly Hatton-Bowers, Leopoldo Nelson F. Barbosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the psychological well-being of primary caregivers of infants and toddlers with Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS), and the roles of family resources, parenting stress, and coping strategies in caregivers’ adaptation. Materials and methods: Family caregivers (N = 50) of children with CZS who were receiving treatment at a rehabilitation hospital in Recife, Brazil participated a cross-sectional survey study. Caregivers completed measures of anxiety and depression, coping strategies, family resources, and parenting stress. Results: Mild to severe symptoms of depression were identified in 40% of caregivers and were a more prominent concern than symptoms of anxiety. Fewer family resources and high levels of parenting stress were significantly associated with both anxiety and depression. The association between parenting stress and depression was moderated by coping, such that parenting stress was associated with higher caregiver depression at low but not high levels of coping strategy use. Conclusions: Practitioners in Brazil should consider the role of family coping and resources as important resilience promoting factors in the development of new programs designed to promote psychological adaptation in caregivers to children with CZS. It is recommended that caregiver mental health support services be integrated into existing early intervention programs targeting children with CZS.Implications for Rehabilitation Parents and other primary caregivers are encouraged to take an active role in the care and developmental monitoring of children born with CZS, but their ability to provide care may be compromised by difficulties in psychological adaptation. Moderate and severe symptoms of depression were more prominent in caregivers than moderate and severe symptoms of anxiety (20% versus 6%, respectively). Practitioners should include assessment of coping strategies, parenting stress and family resources conjointly with evaluation of symptoms of depression and anxiety as part of routine CZS family evaluations. A useful approach for caregivers in Brazil may be to more fully integrate caregiver mental health support services into existing early intervention programs for children with CZS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2100-2109
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2021


  • Children
  • Zika
  • caregiving
  • parents
  • psychological adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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