Pregnant women affected by thalassemia major: A controlled study of traits and personality

Giuseppina Messina, Elisa Colombo, Elena Cassinerio, Claudia Cesaretti, Alessia Marcon, Laura Zanaboni, Marina Baldini, Maria Domenica Cappellini

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Background: The reproductive and sexual health issues concerning persons affected by thalassemia major are complex. The study was planned to investigate the psychological attitudes and expectations in a group of thalassemic pregnant women attending hospital for regular blood transfusion. Methods: This is a preliminary cross-sectional study involving 20 consecutive thalassemic patients and a control group of 42 healthy pregnant volunteers. The personality structure was evaluated by Rorschach's test and the presence of psychic symptoms by SCL-90-R and STAI. Results: Narcissism and sexual traumas are significantly higher in thalassemic women with respects to the control group. Also the percent of anxiety and depression observed with the SCL-90-R was significantly higher than in control group (45% vs. 3%, p <0.001, mean and SD values are 1.65 ± 0.15 vs. 0.43 ± 0.18 for anxiety; 55% vs. 12%, p <0.001, mean and SD values are 1.76 ± 0.18 vs. 0.85 ± 0.25 for depression). The score observed with the STAI shows that the trait of anxiety differed between thalassemic pregnant women and the control group, even though the score values aren't pathologic in neither group (87% vs. 42%, p <0.05, mean and SD values are 33 ± 0.8 vs. 22 ± 0.2). Conclusions: This study addresses the need for developing, implementing and evaluating proper psychological support for thalassemic pregnant patients. Moreover, psychological screening and support prior to, during and following pregnancy would be indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Research in Medical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Personality
  • Pregnancy
  • Thalassemia major

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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