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Prior research has established the relationship between sickle cell disease (SCD) and several other health problems. This study, published in the British Journal of Haematology, compares the rate of mental health disorders among Black Americans with SCD, Black Americans with other non-heritable health conditions, and Black Americans with no medical conditions at all.

Data were gathered from the National Survey of American Life. The researchers used a community sample of non-institutionalized Black adults. Among the group with SCD, 38.8% reported at least one mental health disorder. This finding was similar to the rate among Black adults with other medical conditions but higher than the rate among Black Americans with no medical conditions. 

This effect was especially marked in the data regarding mood disorders, which showed individuals with SCD exhibiting 2.57 greater odds of having a mood disorder when compared to those with no medical conditions. This finding held when controlled for socioeconomic status, marital status, and perceived physical health. The researchers concluded that there appear to be unmeasured factors common across medical conditions that are linked with mental health disorders [1].


[1] Jonassaint, C. R., Lukombo, I., Feldman, R., Driscoll, J., Eack, S. M., Abebe, K. Z., & de Castro, L. (2021). Differences in the prevalence of mental health disorders among Black American adults with sickle cell disease compared to those with non‐heritable medical conditions or no medical conditions. British Journal of Haematology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17962

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