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Psychosocial impact of sickle cell disease in children seen at University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria

MF Tunde-Ayinmode, ML Adelekan

Abstract


Background: The increased risk of psychological disorders constitutes one of the complications of sickle cell disease (SCD) in Nigeria. This subject has received insufficient attention.

Objectives: To assess the psychosocial impact of SCD on affected children and two control samples.

Design: A cross-sectional controlled study.

Setting: University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria.

Subjects: One hundred children affected with sickle cell disease (SCD children) consituted the study sample, while the controls comprised 75 children consituted the study sample, while the controls comprised of 75 children with bronchial asthma (asthmatics) and 75 with some acute medical illness (AMI).

Results: Sickle cell disease (SCD) children (sicklers) were significantly more likely to report social impairment such as restriction in their play and domestic activities, feeling inferior to others, having bad luck, fear of under-achievement in life and fear of potential early death than the control groups. On the Rutter Scale A2, the SCD children were more likely than the controls to report neurotic symptoms but less likely than controls to bully other children. SCD children (30%) were more likely to be identified as probable cases with psychological problems than asthmatics (25%) and AMI children (20%). These differences were, however, not statistically significant.

Conclusion: This study further substantiates earlier findings of the link between chronic childhood illnesses such as SCD and psychosocial morbidity. The authors, therefore, recommend that comprehensive and affordable psychosocial care should be provided for children suffering from these conditions.
East African Medical Journal Vol.82(2) 2005: 74-79



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/eamj.v82i2.9258

East African Medical Journal.   ISSN: 0012 835x