Anxiety in MS is related to depressive symptoms and cognitive complaints.

Anxiety in MS is related to depressive symptoms and cognitive complaints.

Publication date: Nov 06, 2019

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients suffer from high levels of anxiety. However, it is unclear which factors are related to anxiety, since study results are inconsistent, and the associated factors have not been examined comprehensively. In this study, we investigated the demographic, disease-related and psychological factors associated with anxiety in MS patients.

Cross-sectional data of 119 MS patients were used. Anxiety and depressive symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale), cognitive complaints (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire) and cognitive functioning (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Letter Digit Substitution Test, Concept Shifting Test, Wechsler Memory Test Faces, and the Dutch version of the California Verbal Learning Test) were measured. Bivariate and multivariable regression analyses were conducted to test the associations between anxiety and potential contributing factors.

In this sample, 42% of the MS patients had clinically significant levels of anxiety, defined by a score ≥ 8 on the anxiety subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). A significant correlation was found between anxiety and depressive symptoms, fatigue, cognitive complaints and psychiatric history. In the multivariable analysis, only depressive symptoms and cognitive complaints remained significantly related to anxiety.

Anxiety is common in MS patients and most strongly related to psychological factors. This knowledge can be taken into account when treating patients with MS. Further research is needed using longitudinal designs and incorporating other factors known to influence anxiety, such as coping, negative affectivity and social support.

Wallis, O., Bol, Y., K”ohler, S., and van Heugten, C. Anxiety in MS is related to depressive symptoms and cognitive complaints. 19436. 2019 Acta Neurol Scand.

Concepts Keywords
Anxiety Symptoms fatigue
Cognitive Demographic disease
Coping Psychology
Correlation Psychiatry
Demographic Abnormal psychology
Dutch Mood disorders
Fatigue Psychiatric diagnosis
High Anxiety Depression
Multiple Sclerosis RTT
Negative Affectivity Anxiety
Regression Test anxiety
Social Support Major depressive disorder
Test Fatigue


Type Source Name
disease MESH Anxiety
disease DOID Anxiety
disease MESH depressive symptoms
disease MESH Multiple Sclerosis
disease DOID Multiple Sclerosis


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