Addressing Mental Health in Pediatric Rheumatology

  • Tamar B. RubinsteinEmail author
  • Alaina M. Davis
  • Martha Rodriguez
  • Andrea M. Knight
Pediatric Rheumatology (M Becker and J Harris, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pediatric Rheumatology


Purpose of review

To review the current evidence for the management of mental disorders for youth with rheumatologic diseases, and elucidate gaps in knowledge requiring further investigation to improve management of mental health conditions for these patients.

Recent findings

Depression and anxiety are common in youth with pediatric rheumatologic diseases and are associated with poor adherence, quality of life, and long-term outcomes. They have a complex etiology and require consideration of overall disease management as well as contributing psychosocial factors. Increasing evidence indicates that current screening strategies fail to fully support this patient population and that many patients with mental health problems go untreated.


Effective strategies to approach mental health in pediatric rheumatology patients are likely those that incorporate both behavioral and pharmacological therapies, and include families and social support. Preliminary evidence shows that adopting screening practices in pediatric rheumatology clinics will improve detection of mental disorders and is acceptable to patients and families. Broad mental health screening strategies should be considered for youth with rheumatologic diseases. Further research is necessary to better understand which treatments are most effective for depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental disorders observed in pediatric rheumatology.


Pediatric rheumatology Mental health Depression Anxiety Screening Treatment Behavioral therapy 



The authors would like to thank the generous assistance of Aurelia Minuti, head reference librarian from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for her guidance regarding searching algorithms used for this review.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Tamar Rubinstein declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Alaina Davis declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Martha Rodriguez declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Andrea Knight declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamar B. Rubinstein
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alaina M. Davis
    • 3
  • Martha Rodriguez
    • 4
  • Andrea M. Knight
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric RheumatologyChildren’s Hospital at MontefioreBronxUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric RheumatologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  3. 3.Monroe Carell Junior Children’s Hospital, Division of Pediatric RheumatologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Section of Pediatric RheumatologyIndianapolisUSA
  5. 5.Division of RheumatologyThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Center for Pediatric Clinical EffectivenessThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Policy Lab, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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