The Importance of Treating Depression in People with CF
Depression can be a difficult subject to talk about, but it is important to be aware of the increased prevalence of depression in people with cystic fibrosis and other chronic health conditions, and to try to understand how depression, physical health, and general well-being are interrelated.
In 2007, five doctors and scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago investigated the relationship between lung function (FEV1), depression, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among adults with CF.
The Association Between Depression, Lung Function, and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adults With Cystic Fibrosis
To assess health-related quality of life, they used the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire, which looks at physical functioning, vitality, health perceptions, respiratory symptoms, treatment burden, role functioning, emotional functioning, and social functioning.
To assess depression, they used the Beck Depression Inventory. For a copy of the test, see this pdf from the Boston Medical Center.
Seventy-six adults with CF participated in the study, and 30% (23 people) were positive for depressive symptoms. About two-thirds of the 23 people were in the mild-to-moderate range, and about one-third had moderate-to-severe depression.
Analysis of the HRQoL Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory and the participants’ FEV1 levels yielded the following conclusions:
People with lower FEV1 tended to have more depressive symptoms.
When levels of FEV1 were segmented, people with more depressive symptoms had lower HCQoL than others in the same FEV1 segment.
People with more depressive symptoms and lower FEV1 reported significantly worse HCQoL in all categories than people of any FEV1 without depressive symptoms.