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

Am J Hematol. 2010 Oct;85(10):802-5. doi: 10.1002/ajh.21826.


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.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / ethnology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Asian People / psychology
  • Blood Transfusion / psychology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chelation Therapy / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Thalassemia / epidemiology
  • Thalassemia / ethnology
  • Thalassemia / psychology*
  • Thalassemia / therapy
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / psychology
  • Young Adult