Psychosocial Effects of Sickle Cell Disease

Charles F. Whitten, MD; Joseph Fischhoff, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1974;133(4):681-689. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320160175016.
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The psychosocial adaptation of an individual with sickle cell anemia is dependent on a number of variables, including the personality structure, family attitudes and behavior, and community responses and resources. Interactions of the individual, family, and community, and areas of stress and crises are analyzed by means of a developmental-maturational approach. Accurate knowledge of the disease, anticipatory guidance and continued (intermittent) counseling by trained health professionals, encourage and facilitate positive adaptations.

Unfortunately, in current sickle cell programming, there are features that can have a negative psychosocial impact on individuals with sickle cell trait and anemia, the black population and society at large. These features include inaccurate communication materials; inaccurate diagnosis by physicians; lack of or improper counseling; unproved, unrealistic health care recommendations; and mandatory testing laws.


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