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Axial spondyloarthritis tied to risk of mental disorders

15 Oct 2019

Patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) are at increased risk of mental disorders, suggests a recent study. High disease activity, combined with a certain sociodemographic profile, is a good indicator of such risk.

This study included 680 patients with axSpA who were interviewed in 2016 as part of the development process for the Atlas of Axial Spondyloarthritis in Spain. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire scale was used to examine the risk of mental disorders in this population.

The following variables associated with the risk of mental disorders were also assessed: sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex, relationship, patient association membership, job status and educational level), disease status (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index, spinal stiffness and functional limitation) and a previous diagnosis of mental disorders (depression and anxiety).

Bivariate correlation analyses were then conducted, followed by multiple hierarchical and stepwise regression analysis.

Of the patients, 45.6 percent were at increased risk of mental disorders, which was significantly associated with all variables except educational level and thoracic stiffness. On the other hand, the highest coefficient was seen in disease activity (r, 0.543; p≤0.001), functional limitation (r, 0.378; p≤0.001) and age (r, –0.174; p≤0.001).

Stepwise regression analysis revealed that disease activity, functional limitation, patient association membership and cervical stiffness explained much of the variance for the risk of mental disorders. Of these, disease activity showed the highest explanatory degree (R2, 0.875; p<0.001).

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