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Depression and protective factors of mental health in people with hepatitis C: a questionnaire survey

Yesim Erim, Sefik Tagay, Mingo Beckmann, Sabine Bein, Vito Cicinnati, Susanne Beckebaum, Wolfgang Senf, Jörg F Schlaak
International Journal of Nursing Studies 2010, 47 (3): 342-9
19766994

BACKGROUND: Most studies investigating the effects of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection on the central nervous system have focused on cognitive impairment or on the health-related quality of life, but only few on depression.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated depression in HCV-infected people. Sense of coherence and social support were surveyed as protective factors of mental health.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional study-design, 81 HCV-infected people with mild liver disease, who were not receiving antiviral therapy, were surveyed by validated measures. Anxiety (HADS), depression (BDI), psychopathological symptoms (SCL-90-R), social support (F-SozU) and resilience (SOC) were assessed.

RESULTS: Higher levels of depression than normal controls (p=.001) and a wide range of psychological symptoms were associated with HCV infection. Women, single participants, and persons with a shorter interval after first diagnosis exhibited significantly higher scores of depression. Gender and sense of coherence predicted depression scores in HCV people (R(2)=.42, p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The expression of depression in HCV-infected people is modulated not only by biological but also by psychological factors of mental health. Sense of coherence as a protective factor has a significant impact on the degree of depression. Furthermore, the high prevalence of depression and anxiety among persons not receiving antiviral therapy justifies psychosocial screening and support for HCV people independent of antiviral therapy.

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