Brief Screening Measures Identify Risk for Psychological Difficulties Among Children with Sickle Cell Disease

Anna M. Hood, Ilana Reife, Allison A. King, Desiree A. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience disproportionately high rates of psychological problems. Our goal was to examine the clinical utility of psychological screening measures to identify children with such problems in medical settings. Caregivers completed screening measures assessing social–emotional problems, ADHD symptoms, executive dysfunction, and health-related quality of life for children with SCD (receiving either chronic blood transfusion or hydroxyurea) and their siblings. Our findings demonstrated that screening measures identified clinically elevated symptoms in children with SCD that had not been previously reported. Scores for siblings were for the most part in the normal range. The number of days hospitalized (but not cerebral infarct status) predicted higher scores, emphasizing the challenges associated with SCD complications. Overall, our findings support the notion that screening measures reduce the need for reliance on medical provider judgment for psychological referrals and increase equitability in access to services. Early identification resulting in early intervention has contributed substantially to improved psychological functioning in many contexts, and it is thus likely that such improvements would also be achieved in this uniquely vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-661
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of clinical psychology in medical settings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Behavior
  • Children
  • Executive dysfunction
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Quality of life
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Transfusion


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