Depression and quality of life in children with sickle cell disease: the effect of social support

BMC Psychiatry. 2015 Apr 11;15:78. doi: 10.1186/s12888-015-0461-6.


Background: The majority of available studies have shown that children with sickle cell disease (SCD) have a higher risk of depressive symptoms than those without. The present study aimed to: assess the prevalence of depression in a sample of children with SCD; evaluate the association between disease severity, social support and depression, and the combined and/or singular effect on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in children with SCD; and show the predictive value of social support and disease severity on depression.

Methods: A total of 120 children were included in the study, 60 (group I) with SCD and 60 matched, healthy control children (group II). Depression was assessed in both groups using the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and the Children's Depression Inventory-Parent (CDI-P). Children with CDI and CDI-P scores of more than 12 were interviewed for further assessment of depression using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV (DISC-IV). The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Version 4.0 Generic Core Scales (PedsQL 4.0) was used to assess HRQL in both groups, and social support was measured with the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS).

Results: Eight (13%) of the 60 children with SCD had CDI and CDI-P scores of more than 12 (CDI mean score 14.50 ± 1.19, CDI-P mean score 14.13 ± 1.12), and were diagnosed as having clinical depression using the diagnostic interview DISC-IV. For group I, HRQL was poor across all PedsQL 4.0 domains in both self- and parent-reports (P < 0.001) compared with group II. A higher level of parent support was a significantly associated with decreased depressive symptoms, demonstrated by lower CDI scores. Better quality of life was shown by the associated higher total PedsQL 4.0 self-scores of children with SCD (B = -1.79, P = 0.01 and B = 1.89, P = 0.02 respectively).

Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that higher levels of parent support were significantly associated with decreased depressive symptoms and better quality of life in children with SCD. Interventions focused on increasing parent support may be an important part of treatment for depression in children with SCD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / epidemiology*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support*