Prevalence of depression among children living in orphanage

Ganavi Ramagopal, Shobana Narasimhan, L. Uma Devi


Background:The children who are placed in orphanages especially during very young age, for long duration are found to be at increased risk of developing psychiatric problems like depression, behavioural and emotional disorders later in life. The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence and severity of depression among children living in orphanage.

Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study, involving 180 children in the age group of 12-18 years living in orphanage was conducted. After obtaining permission and informed consent, demographic details were noted and hamilton depression scale was administered to assess depression. Scoring was done, severity of depression was classified and results were tabulated.

Results:53% were age group of 12-14 years and 46% were 15-17 years, 52% females and 48% males, 35% had depression, most of them who had depression were in the age group of 15-17 years and majority were females. According to severity of depression 52% had mild depression, 23% had moderate depression, 14% had severe depression, 9% had very severe depression and 38% of depressed children had suicidal intentions.

Conclusions:Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorder prevalent among children living in orphanages especially adolescent females so early identification and intervention is necessary for the children living orphanages to prevent further consequences.


Depression, Orphan, Psychiatry

Full Text:



Erol N, Simsek Z, Unir KM. Mental health of ado- lescents reared in institutional care in Turkey: challenges and hope in the twenty-first century. European Child Adol Psych. 2010;19(2):113-24.

Cicchetti D, Barnett D. Attachment organization in maltreated preschoolers. Developmental Psychopath. 1991;4:397-411.

Anna T, Smyke. Attachment disturbances in young children the continuum of caretaking causality. J Am Academy Child Adol Psych. 2002;41(8):972-82.

Asfawesen S, Aregay A, Berhe H. Prevalence of psychological distress and associated factors among AIDS orphan adolescents in Mekelle City, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia: cross sectional study greener. J Med Sci. 2013;3(7):260-9.

Cluver LD, Gardner F. Risk and protective factors for psychological wellbeing of children orphaned by AIDS in Cape town: a qualitative study of children and caregivers’ perspectives. AIDS Care. 2007;19(3):318-25.

Strik J, Honig A, Lousberg R, Denollet J. Sensitivity and specificity of observer and self-report questionnaires in major and minor depression following myocardial infarction. Psychosomatics. 2001;42:423-8.

Sengendo J, Nambi J. The psychological effect of orphanhood: a study of orphans in Rakai district. Health Transition Review. 1997;7:105-24.

Margoob MA, Rather YH, Khan AY, Singh GP, Malik YA, Firdosi MM, Ahmad SA. Psychiatric disorders among children living in orphanages -experience from Kashmir. JK Practitioner. 2006;13(1):53-5.

Ibrahim A, Bilsha MA, Gilany AH, Khater M. Prevalence and predictors of depression among orphans in Dakahlia’s orphanages, Egypt. Int J Collaborative Res Internal Med Public Health. 2012;12(4):2036-43.

Bhat NM. A study of emotional stability and depression in orphan secondary school students. Int J Education Psychological Res. 2014;3(2):95-100.

Maqbool DM, Hussain SK, Qadri S. Prevalence and pattern of psychiatric morbidity among children living in orphanages of Kashmir. Int J Health Sci Res. 2015;5(11):53-60.