[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Views 1,241
Citations 0
Original Investigation
July 8, 2019

Prevalence and Incidence of Anxiety and Depression Among Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults With Life-Limiting Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, York, United Kingdom
  • 2Martin House Research Centre, University of York, York, United Kingdom
  • 3Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York, United Kingdom
JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 8, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1712
Key Points

Question  What is the prevalence and/or incidence of anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions?

Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the pooled prevalence of anxiety in 19 studies was 19.1%, with significant differences in prevalence according to the type of assessment tool used; in a meta-analysis of 36 studies, depression prevalence was 14.3% and was associated with increasing age. No studies included information on incidence of anxiety or depression.

Meaning  The high prevalence of anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions highlights the need for improved services to address their psychological needs.

Abstract

Importance  Children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions experience various challenges that may make them more vulnerable to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. However, the prevalence and incidence of anxiety and depression among this population appears to be unknown.

Objective  To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence and/or incidence of anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions.

Data Sources  Searches of MEDLINE (PubMed), PsycInfo, and Embase were conducted to identify studies published between January 2000 and January 2018.

Study Selection  Studies were eligible for this review if they provided primary data of anxiety or depression prevalence and/or incidence, included participants aged 5 to 25 years with a life-limiting condition, were conducted in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development country, and were available in English.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Random-effects meta-analyses were generated to provide anxiety and depression prevalence estimates. Meta-regression was conducted to analyze associations between study characteristics and each prevalence estimate.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Prevalence of anxiety and depression.

Results  A total of 14 866 nonduplicate articles were screened, of which 37 were included in the review. Of these, 19 studies reported anxiety prevalence, and 36 studies reported depression prevalence. The mean (range) age of participants was 15.4 (6-25) years. The meta-analysis of anxiety prevalence (n = 4547 participants) generated a pooled prevalence estimate of 19.1% (95% CI, 14.1%-24.6%). Meta-regression analysis found statistically significant differences in anxiety prevalence by assessment tool; diagnostic interviews were associated with higher anxiety prevalence (28.5% [95% CI, 13.2%-46.8%]) than self-reported or parent-reported measures (14.9% [95% CI, 10.9%-19.4%]). The depression meta-analysis (n = 5934 participants) found a pooled prevalence estimate of 14.3% (95% CI, 10.5%-18.6%). Meta-regression analysis revealed statistically significant differences in depression prevalence by the mean age of the sample (β = 0.02 [95% CI, 0.01-0.03]; P = .001).

Conclusions and Relevance  In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the prevalence of anxiety and depression among children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting conditions was high, highlighting the need for increased psychological assessment and monitoring. Further research is required to determine the prevalence and incidence of anxiety and depression in a larger sample of children, adolescents, and young adults with a broader range of life-limiting conditions.

×