Wellbeing in adolescents with CFS/ME.
This study recruited 164 teenagers with CFS/ME. The aim was to find out how many had depression and anxiety and how best to identify them. We recruited teenagers with CFS/ME after their first appointment with the paediatric CFS/ME team in Bath and interviewed them, and their parents, to assess depression and other mental health problems. They also filled in two short questionnaires about symptoms of depression and anxiety. They could choose to be interviewed by Skype or telephone, or face-to-face, either at home or at the hospital. Most chose to be interviewed by Skype or telephone.
We found that one in three teenagers with CFS/ME met the diagnostic criteria for a mental health problem. Approximately 20% of those we interviewed had depression, and 27% had an anxiety disorder, with many having more than one mental health problem. We were able to compare the diagnostic information from the interviews with the questionnaires they filled in, to look at how best to use the questionnaires in clinic as screening tools to help us to identify mental health problems.
We are also investigating whether having depression and/or anxiety symptoms impacts on recovery teenagers who have CFS/ME. We have written a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy treatment manual for clinicians working with children and teenagers with CFS/ME, which includes guidance on how to adapt therapy for those with depression and/or anxiety.
In this podcast - Emma Bache, a Medical Student, interviews Dr Maria Loades, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at University of Bath and NIHR Research Fellow about this study.
Loades, M.E., Smith, L., Higson-Sweeney, N. et al. Obstacles to recruitment in paediatric studies focusing on mental health in a physical health context: the experiences of clinical gatekeepers in an observational cohort study. BMC Med Res Methodol 19, 89 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-019-0730-z