The relationship between transplant-related variables and the psychological problems of liver transplant recipients
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Title - The relationship between transplant-related variables and the psychological problems of liver transplant recipients. Background - A considerable number of liver transplant recipients experience psychological health problems as depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress influenced by demographic, personal and transplant-related variables. It is important for health care workers to gain insight in the development of the psychological problems after transplantation in order to recognize and subsequently treat these at an early stage. Aim - The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress of liver transplant recipients three months after transplantation and to examine transplant-related factors associated with the psychological problems. Method – A cross-sectional analysis was performed on data of psychological problems assessed by questionnaires (STAI, CES-D and SRIP) at three months after transplantation, and data regarding transplant-related variables (retrieved through medical record review). Results - In this study 30.7% (n=42) of the 137 participating transplant recipients showed symptoms of anxiety, 22.6 % (n=31) depressive symptoms, and 19.7% (n=27) symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Evidence was found that age at transplant (r=-0.23 to r=-0.32, p=.005) and the period of illness before the transplant (r=-0.17 to r=-0.22, p=.005) are associated with all three psychological problems. Conclusion - In contrary to other studies, transplant-related variables (per and postoperative complications) were not associated, meaning that other variables could play a more significant role at the onset of early post transplant psychological problems. Recommendations - Further investigation should focus on the long-term influence of transplant-related variables on the development of psychological problems after transplantation over time. Also the exploration of the combined effect of demographic variables, personal characteristics, and transplant-related variables on the psychological problems after transplantation is suggested.