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Liver transplantation and adolescence: the role of mental health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Anna Hames, Faith Alexandra Elisabeth Matcham, Deepak Joshi, Michael Heneghan, Anil Dhawan, Nigel Heaton, Marianne Samyn

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1544–1553
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number11
Early online date26 Aug 2016
Accepted/In press16 Aug 2016
E-pub ahead of print26 Aug 2016
PublishedNov 2016


King's Authors


Young people (YP) with chronic illness have higher rates of mental health problems than the general population, with psychosocial complexity associated with non-adherence (NA) and poorer health outcomes. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of anxiety and depression in YP post-liver transplant (LT), with autoimmune liver disease (AILD) and other chronic liver diseases, identify the factors YP attribute their distress to and the relationship
between anxiety/depression and YP’s beliefs about their illness and treatment. An electronically-administered questionnaire battery was given routinely to YP attending an outpatient liver transition clinic. 187 YP participated, of which 17.7% screened positive for anxiety or depression. There were no significant differences between disease groups. This is significantly higher than the prevalence of common mental health problems in the general adolescent population. Patients most frequently attributed their distress to fatigue, sleep
difficulties, financial concerns, problems at work/school, worry and low self-esteem. Higher levels of depression and anxiety were significantly associated with specific illness and treatment beliefs, but not with perceived understanding of illness or treatment control. In conclusion, the increased prevalence of mental health problems in this population and the intertwined nature of these with their physical health outcomes provide evidence that holistic care should be delivered as standard for this age group.

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