Indicators of anxiety and depression in women with the fragile X premutation: Assessment of a clinical sample

A. Lachiewicz, D. Dawson, G. Spiridigliozzi, M. Cuccaro, M. Lachiewicz, A. McConkie-Rosell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Current research suggests that depression and anxiety may be common problems in women with the fragile X (FMR1) premutation. Methods: To learn more about this in a clinical setting, we asked 33 women with the FMR1 premutation and 20 women without the FMR1 premutation to complete the Brief Carroll Depression Scale (Brief CDS) and the Multidimensional Anxiety Questionnaire (MAQ) and to provide information about mental health medication use. Questionnaire findings were compared between groups and with normative samples. Trinucleotide (CGG) repeat counts were also correlated to checklist findings. Results: Both women with the FMR1 premutation and the comparison group had high current mental health medication use (33% vs. 35%). Approximately 1/3 of the women from both groups had high Brief CDS Total T-scores (33% vs. 30%). More women with the FMR1 premutation had at least one elevated MAQ Total or sub-scale T-score than the comparison group (39% vs. 10%, P = 0.03). Twenty-one per cent of women with the FMR1 premutation had all three of the indicators of distress targeted in this study vs. none of the women in the comparison samples (P < 0.05). There was no statistically significant correlation between CGG repeat size and abnormal checklist findings using the Spearman rank correlation, although a higher percentage of women with >100 CGG repeats (57%) had an elevated Brief CDS Total T-score than women with ≤100 CGG repeats (16%) (P = 0.02). More women with >100 CGG repeats also had all three indicators of anxiety and depression (P = 0.03). Conclusions: Women with the FMR1 premutation appear to have a high incidence of depression and increased symptoms of anxiety. Screening tools like the Brief CDS and the MAQ may be useful to identify these women in the clinic setting. Positive identification could lead to increased mental health care and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-610
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fragile X premutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Rehabilitation


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