(VHL) disease is a rare, autosomal inherited tumor disorder caused by mutations
or deletions of the VHL gene. Most of the previous research focused on the
clinical features and molecular mechanisms of the disease, few concerned about
the psychosocial impact on the patients and their family. We encountered a VHL
family in the clinical work and attempted to assess the possible psychological
effects of the disease on the members of the family. Three questionnaires
including Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS)
and Revised Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) were used in the research. A total of
61 members participated in the investigation. The SAS and SDS tests showed that
13 members were affected by anxiety which was associated with age, and 19
members suffered from depression which was correlated with gender, marital
status, age, being patients, occupation, education and close relative of the
VHL patients. The SCL-90 results showed that the “total scores”, “interpersonal
sensitivity”, “depression”, “anxiety” and “panic” scored higher in our study
than Chinese average level. Meanwhile, the SCL-90 data revealed that: 1) age
was associated with anxiety disorder; 2) marital status was related to higher
prevalence of hostility; 3) Being VHL patients was related to bigoted symptoms;
and 4) closer relationship with the VHL patients was associated with depressive
and hostility symptoms in the family. The study revealed that susceptibility to
psychiatric symptoms was correlated with certain sociodemographic and clinical
characteristics. Depression and anxiety were the most prevalent psychiatric
symptoms in the VHL family. This was the first study focusing on the
psychological consequences of the VHL disease. An understanding of these
factors would be helpful in providing appropriate mental health services to the
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