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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-33

Examining depression and quality of life in patients with thalassemia in Sri Lanka

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada
3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Arun V Ravindran
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 100 Stokes St., Toronto M6J 1H4
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jncd.jncd_49_18

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Background: With more effective treatments and improved outcomes in thalassemia, there is increasing focus on its psychological sequelae. Most published data on this topic are from high-income countries and much less so from low- and middle-income countries, where thalassemia is more prevalent. Aim: The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate the psychiatric morbidity and quality of life in relation to demographic- and illness-related variables among Sri Lankan patients with thalassemia. Methods: This cross-sectional investigation was conducted at the University of Kelaniya Teaching Hospital in Sri Lanka. Patients with all forms of thalassemia, over 12 years of age, and in stable medical condition (n = 120) were recruited. Assessment tools included a general demographic questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Measure–Brief. Statistical analysis was conducted using linear regressions, Chi-squares, and analyses of variance. Results: Lack of family support, longer duration of inpatient admission, and female gender were associated with higher depression scores and reduced quality of life. Environmental and social quality of life were positively correlated with levels of peer support in males, while increased support from religion correlated with lower depression scores and higher satisfaction with environmental and psychological quality of life in women. There was no association between the type of thalassemia and either depression or quality of life measures. Conclusion: Several factors may influence the psychological state and well-being of patients with thalassemia in Sri Lanka. Specific service innovations (some gender-specific) may help to address these factors to improve treatment outcome and well-being.

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