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scientific articles

Cognitive behavioral therapy in patients with sickle cell disease

key information

source: Creative Nursing

year: 2015

authors: Daniels S


Introduction: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited autosomal recessive disorder. In the United States, most individuals with SCD are African Americans, with an incidence of 1 in 400 to 1 in 500 live births. SCD is a lifelong disorder with no known cure.

Background: SCD causes anemia, frequent painful episodes, and reduced life expectancy. The most disturbing clinical problem associated with SCD is severe pain episodes, the most common reason for hospitalization. Pharmacological interventions have been the mainstream for treatment; however, psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may complement current medical treatment, leading to better coping and overall improved quality of life.

Methods: In a quasi-experimental one-group pretest–posttest study, 9 African American individuals with SCD completed 3 weekly educational sessions learning CBT methods.

Results: Participants demonstrated increased frequency of use of CBT methods post intervention, including diverting attention, coping self-statements, and behavioral activities, leading to better pain control. However, quality of life and role limitation did not show significant improvement.

Conclusions: CBT shows promise for individuals with chronic conditions such as SCD, but more investigation into its efficacy is needed with larger sample sizes over longer periods of time.

DOI: 10.1891/1078-4535.21.1.38

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