The impact of pediatric nephrotic syndrome on families

Pediatr Nephrol. 2011 Aug;26(8):1235-40. doi: 10.1007/s00467-011-1841-x. Epub 2011 May 29.


The objective of our study was to assess the psychologic and economic effects of pediatric nephrotic syndrome (NS) on caregivers. Caregivers of 50 children with NS were compared with a control group of 50 families of children with minor illnesses attending the same outpatient facility. Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) IA was used to assess the mental status of the primary caregiver. The socioeconomic status of the family was assessed using the modified Kuppuswamy scale. Expenditure for the illness was calculated during parent interviews. The difference between groups was analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Duncan's multiple range test. BDI scores signified moderate to severe depression in 48% of NS caregivers compared with 12% controls. The mean BDI score was significantly higher in NS caregivers, correlating positively with disease severity and negatively with socioeconomic status. Expenditure for disease also was significantly higher in families with NS patients, varying between 30% and 60% of monthly income depending on disease severity compared with 6.9% in controls. In 10% of NS families, it was more than total income, forcing families to break into savings or go into debt. Although pediatric NS most commonly has an excellent long-term outcome, it causes significant mental and economic stress on families. Severe forms should be categorized as a chronic illness and be eligible for disability benefits and subsidized travel and medical care. Establishing support groups and supportive care at local levels would help reduce the burden on families of patients wtih NS.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease / psychology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / economics*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires