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A Cross Sectional Epidemiological Study to Find the Prevalence of Depression and Anxiety in Patients of Leprosy and It’s Correlation to Stigma Related with Leprosy


Background: Depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions that can significantly impact the quality of life and overall well-being of individuals affected by leprosy, a neglected tropical disease. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of depression and anxiety among subjects with leprosy in the tribal block of western Maharashtra and investigate its correlation with the stigma associated with leprosy.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample size of 145 subjects diagnosed with leprosy, over duration of three months, in the tribal block of western Maharashtra, India. Participants were selected using a systematic random sampling technique from local healthcare facilities and leprosy clinics. Data collection involved structured interviews using standardized tools, including the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) for depression, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) for anxiety, and the Stigma Scale for Leprosy (SSFL) to measure stigma associated with leprosy.

Results: The study found that 52.4% of subjects with leprosy exhibited symptoms of depression (PHQ-9 score ≥ 10) and 48.3% showed symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7 score ≥ 10). Furthermore, a significant positive correlation was observed between the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms (r = 0.654, p < 0.001), indicating a comorbid relationship. The stigma associated with leprosy, as measured by the SSFL, was found to be moderate, with an average score of 36.7 ± 7.2. There was a significant positive correlation between stigma and depression (r = 0.451, p < 0.001) as well as stigma and anxiety (r = 0.398, p < 0.001), indicating that higher levels of stigma were associated with more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Conclusion: This study highlights the high prevalence of depression and anxiety among subjects with leprosy in the tribal block of western Maharashtra. Additionally, it underscores the significant correlation between these mental health conditions and the stigma related to leprosy. Interventions aimed at improving mental health outcomes for individuals with leprosy should not only focus on symptom management but also address the stigma associated with the disease. Reducing stigma may help mitigate the psychological distress experienced by individuals with leprosy, ultimately improving their overall well-being. 

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Journal Article
Kore S
Bhide A
Bhide V
Shinde A