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Psychosocial aspects of haemophilia: a systematic review of methodologies and findings


Dr F. Cassis, Haemophilia Centre, University of São Paulo, Faculty of Medicine Clinics Hospital, Avenida Dr. Eneas Carvalho Aguiar 155, First floor, Cerqueira César 05403-000, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Tel.: +5511 30615544 Ext. 239; fax: +44 (0)207 379 6393;


Summary.  Psychosocial factors have a significant impact on quality of life for patients with chronic diseases such as haemophilia. Interventions to support the psychosocial needs of patients and their families, such as offering information and assistance, clarifying doubts, and teaching coping strategies to minimize the impact of disabilities, may help to maximize patient outcomes and improve quality of life for their families. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current literature on psychosocial aspects of haemophilia. Literature searches were performed using the PubMed database to identify studies evaluating psychosocial stressors in persons with haemophilia. Articles pertaining to the HIV epidemic were excluded from the analysis, as were those published before 1997. The literature reviews identified 24 studies, covering a range of different populations, generally with small cohorts (< 100). Most studies were questionnaire based, with almost no overlap in terms of the instruments used. Only one study combined questionnaire techniques with qualitative methods. Except for two European studies, all publications reported data from a single country. Overall, studies tended to show that quality of life is reduced in persons with haemophilia, with a potential impact on education and employment, particularly when prophylactic treatment is not available. Carrier status in women may have a psychosocial impact and affect reproductive choices. Data on psychosocial aspects of the haemophilia life cycle are lacking in the published literature, along with data from developing countries. There is a need for more international, multifaceted research to explore and quantify the social and psychological aspects of life with haemophilia.