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Emotional disorders tied to poor quality of life in primary care patients

05 Aug 2018

Depression, anxiety and somatization symptoms are tied to lower physical and psychological quality of life (QoL) in primary care patients with these emotional disorders, a recent study has shown.

Using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD)-7 and the PHQ-15, researchers assessed symptoms of depression, anxiety and somatization, respectively, in 1,241 primary care patients (mean age 43.2±12.1 years; 77 percent female). The WHO QoL Instrument Short-Form was used to evaluate the physical, psychological, social and environment domains of QoL.

Hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses showed that while sociodemographic factors had little effect on QoL, clinical factors explained much of the variance in the models, particularly in the physical and psychological domains of QoL.

For instance, depression was a strong and independent predictor of psychological (β, –0.30), physical (β, –0.64), social (β, –0.49) and environmental (β, –0.23; p<0.001 for all) quality of life. As a result, a significant correlation with overall QoL was also observed (β, –0.40; p<0.001).

In comparison, anxiety as measured by the GAD-7 was also a significant and independent predictor of all domains of QoL aside from social relations: psychological (β, –0.11), physical (β, –0.11) and environmental (β, –0.14; p<0.001 for all). No significant association with overall QoL was observed (β, –0.04).

Somatization showed a significant association with the psychological (β, –0.29; p<0.001) and physical (β, 0.10; p<0.01) domains of QoL.

Moreover, the number of mental disorder diagnoses also had a significant negative effect on QoL domains (p<0.001), such that each additional diagnosis led to a 5–10-point drop in QoL scores.

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