Depressive symptoms in adults with spina bifida

Brad E. Dicianno, Nicholas Kinback, Melissa H. Bellin, Laurie Chaikind, Alhaji M. Buhari, Grayson N. Holmbeck, T. Andrew Zabel, Robert M. Donlan, Diane M. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the prevalence of depressive symptoms in adults with spina bifida and identify contributing factors for depressive symptomatology. Method: Retrospective Cohort Study. Data collection was conducted at a regional adult spina bifida clinic. A total of 190 charts from adult patients with spina bifida were included. The main outcome measures were the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) and the mobility domain of the Craig Handicap Assessment Reporting Technique-Short Form (CHARTSF). Results: Of the 190 participants, 49 (25.8%) had BDI-II scores (14+) indicative of depressive symptomatology. Sixty-nine (36.3%) were on antidepressants to treat depressive symptoms, and 31 (63.3%) of those with clinical symptoms of depression were on antidepressants. Participants with a history of depressive symptoms may be as high as 45.7% if both participants with BDI-II scores 14+ and those with antidepressant use specifically for the purposes of depression treatment are combined. In this population, lower CHART-SF mobility score, expressing "emotional concerns" as a reason for the visit on an intake sheet, and use of antidepressant medications were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Depressive symptomatology appears to be common and undertreated in this cohort of adults with spina bifida, which may warrant screening for emotional concerns in routine clinic appointments. Significant depressive symptoms are associated with fewer hours out of bed and fewer days leaving the house. Additional research is needed to assess the impact of interventions directed toward mobility on depression and in the treatment of depression in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-253
Number of pages8
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Adult
  • Depression
  • Mobility
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spina bifida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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