Depression, self-esteem, and life events in adolescents with chronic diseases

J Adolesc Health Care. 1990 Nov;11(6):501-4. doi: 10.1016/0197-0070(90)90110-n.


This study assesses whether nonhospitalized adolescents with chronic diseases differ from their healthy peers on standardized measurements of depression, self-esteem, and life events. The study group consisted of 80 patients (20 with sickle cell disease, 40 with asthma, and 20 with diabetes). All patients had been admitted at least twice in the preceding year, had their disease for at least 2 years, and were between the ages of 12 and 18. The control group consisted of 100 adolescents, matched for age and socioeconomic status, from local schools. All subjects completed a questionnaire compiled from the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Rosenberg Scale of Self-Esteem, and the McCutcheon Life Events Checklist. Adolescents with chronic disease had higher depression scores (p less than 0.001) and lower self-esteem (p less than 0.001) than their healthy age-matched controls. There was no statistically significant difference in life events between the chronic disease and control groups. Depression, self-esteem, and life events did not differ significantly among the three disease groups. These findings suggest a need for intervention strategies to address depression and low self-esteem in adolescents with chronic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Child
  • Depression*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires