Screening for symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescents and young adults with cystic fibrosis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2011 Feb;46(2):153-9. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21334. Epub 2010 Nov 17.


Background: Although studies have assessed symptoms of depression and anxiety in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF), few have been conducted since the advent of new medical treatments (e.g., nebulized antibiotics, ThAIRpy Vest). Study objectives were to: (1) document symptoms of depression and anxiety for adolescents and young adults with CF and compare with normative values, (2) examine the associations among depressive/anxiety symptoms and gender, age, lung function, and body mass index, and (3) determine the relations between adolescent and caregiver symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Methods: Patients and caregivers completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) anytime (e.g., beginning or end) during routine CF clinic appointments.

Results: Participants included 59 adolescents/young adults with CF (M(age) = 15.8 years, 54% female, 98% Caucasian, M(FEV1% predicted) = 84.6) and caregivers of 40 adolescents. Although symptom scores were in the normative range for patients with CF (M(Depression) = 2.27 and M(Anxiety) = 5.59), 3% and 32% exhibited clinically elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety, respectively. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were significantly associated with age (r = 0.28, 0.36). Symptoms of depression and anxiety were also positively correlated (r = 0.48). Females endorsed higher anxiety symptoms than males. While adolescent and caregiver anxiety scores were not related, higher caregiver depressive symptoms were associated with older patient age and worse lung function.

Conclusions: Data from the current study suggest low levels of depressive symptoms and substantial levels of anxiety symptoms in adolescents and young adults with CF. Consistent with prior literature, depressive symptoms appear higher in older patients and are significantly associated with anxiety symptoms. Caregiver symptomology appears to be more affected by an adolescent's health status, suggesting a need to screen caregivers when health begins to decline.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Young Adult