ARCH Lab Collaborates on Study of Mental Health of Youth with Cerebral Palsy

The ARCH Lab collaborated on a paper recently published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, titled “Correlates of Mental Health in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cerebral Palsy: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the MyStory Project”. This study highlights the importance of understanding mental health issues in adolescents and young adults (AYA) living with cerebral palsy (CP).

Living with a chronic health condition such as CP can increase the risk of developing problems related to mental health, chronic pain, and fatigue. In this study, survey data from 63 participants, as well as hair cortisol levels from 41 AYA with CP were analyzed to determine if there was an association between these measures (demographics, social factors, and clinical presentation) and higher anxiety and/or depression scores.

Results showed a large proportion of AYA with CP presented with clinical depressive and anxiety symptoms. In addition, patterns in family functioning, fatigue, and pain, were statistically significant predictors of these disorders. Cortisol levels were not found to be in association with depressive symptoms or anxiety in the sample. Ample evidence is provided for a high prevalence of co-occurring physical and mental health problems in AYA with CP, especially, and mental support should be considered when managing treatment.