Looking Into the Mirror With Lupus

Depressive symptoms in girls with lupus higher than in those without

(RxWiki News) Being a teenage girl can be rough. You're dealing with many changes to your body and increasing social pressures. It seems adding lupus to the mix may lead to more woes for teenage girls.

Teenage girls with lupus were more likely to have depression than those without lupus, according to findings of a Chinese study.

A concern with appearance may be associated with this depression risk in girls with lupus.

"Talk to a therapist if you're experiencing depression."

Song Hongmei, of Peking Union Medical College Hospital in China, and colleagues set out to see if a concern with physical appearance was linked to mental distress in teenage girls with lupus.

Using the Children Depression Inventory (CDI), the researchers found that teenage girls with lupus had more symptoms of depression than girls without lupus of the same age.

The CDI is a tool used to measure depressive symptoms in children between 7 and 17 years of age. It is a 27-item self-report questionnaire, meaning that children will answer questions about depression by themselves. A higher CDI score indicates more depressive symptoms.

Overall, teen girls with lupus in this study had a CDI score of about 18.5. In comparison, girls without lupus had a score of about 11.4.

A total of 32 (38.1 percent) of girls with lupus had a CDI score higher than 19 points.

In addition, the researchers found that both age and a concern about appearance were associated with depression in girls with lupus, with appearance concern being the most strongly associated with depression.

According to the authors, these findings suggest that girls with lupus may need to be routinely screened for depression.

The research included 84 teenage girls with lupus and 80 teenagers without lupus. More research is needed to see if these findings hold in larger populations.

The study was published September 8 in Clinical Rheumatology.

Review Date: 
September 24, 2012