Symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with thalassemia: prevalence and correlates in the thalassemia longitudinal cohort

Mednick, L.; Yu, S.; Trachtenberg, F.; Xu, Y.; Kleinert, D. A.; Giardina, P. J.; Kwiatkowski, J. L.; Foote, D.; Thayalasuthan, V.; Porter, J. B.; Thompson, A. A.; Schilling, L.; Quinn, C. T.; Neufeld, E. J.; Yamashita, R.

Am J Hematol. 2010 Sep 2; 85(10):802-5


Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that requires lifelong adherence to a complicated and burdensome medical regimen which could potentially impact emotional functioning of patients. The importance of understanding and promoting healthy emotional functioning is crucial not only to psychological well-being, but also to physical health as it has been shown to impact adherence to medical regimens [1-4]. The current study aimed to [1] determine the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in adolescent and adult patients with thalassemia; and [2] explore possible demographic, medical, and psychosocial correlates of these symptoms in 276 patients (14-58 years old, M age = 27.83; 52% female). Overall, most patients did not report experiencing significant symptoms of anxiety and depression (33% of participants indicated experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 11% symptoms of depression). Females and older patients were more likely to experience these symptoms than males and younger patients. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were positively associated with self-report of difficulty with adherence and negatively associated with quality of life. Given these findings, regular screening for anxiety and depression symptoms could help to identify at-risk individuals to provide them with appropriate psychological support with the goal of improving both emotional and physical health.

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