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This study aimed to determine the prevalence of psychiatric disorder in young adults with homzygous sickle cell (SS) disease and in controls with normal haemoglobin, and to examine factors associated with psychiatric disorder.
The study design was cross-sectional. Subjects were aged 18–20 years: 63 with SS disease and 89 controls. The Psychiatric Assessment Schedule was used to determine psychiatric disorder at index of Definition level 5.
Psychiatric disorder was identified in 18 (29%) SS disease patients and in 22 (25%) controls. In SS patients, psychiatric disorder was not related to illness severity but was associated with leaving school early, difficulties in social adjustment, impaired cognitive function and having previous psychiatric difficulties. Male SS patients with psychiatric disorder all had low body mass index (BMI < 17.60). In controls, psychiatric disorder was associated with female gender, unemployment and difficulties in social adjustment.
The prevalence of psychiatric disorder was similar in patients and controls, although associated factors tended to be different. The association with low BMI in SS men merits further study.
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