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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Mar;70(3):475-480. doi: 10.1002/acr.23290.

Depression Risk in Young Adults With Juvenile- and Adult-Onset Lupus: Twelve Years of Followup.

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The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
University of California, San Francisco.



To compare major depression risk among young adults with juvenile-onset and adult-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to determine demographic and health-related predictors of depression.


Young adults with SLE ages 18-45 years (n = 546) in the Lupus Outcomes Study completed annual telephone surveys from 2002-2015, including assessment of depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and self-report measures of sociodemographics and health characteristics. Juvenile-onset SLE was defined as age <18 years at diagnosis (n = 115). Repeated-measures analysis was performed to assess the risk for major depression (CES-D ≥24) at any point in study, and logistic regression was used to assess for recurrent (present on ≥2 assessments) major depression.


Major depression was experienced by 47% of the cohort at least once during the 12-year study period. In adjusted analyses, juvenile-onset SLE patients had an increased risk of having a major depressive episode (odds ratio [OR] 1.7 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-2.7]) and recurrent episodes (OR 2.2 [95% CI 1.2-4.3]), compared to participants with adult-onset SLE. Older age, lower educational attainment, and physical function, higher disease activity, and a history of smoking were associated with an increased depression risk. Juvenile-onset SLE patients had a higher risk of major depression across all educational groups.


Young adults with SLE, particularly those with juvenile-onset disease, are at high risk for major depression, which is associated with increased disease activity, poorer physical functioning, and lower educational attainment. Early depression intervention in young adults with SLE has the potential to improve both medical and psychosocial outcomes.

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