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Clinical correlates of state and trait anxiety in multiple sclerosis

Published:November 23, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2022.104431

      Highlights

      • State and trait anxiety are highly prevalent in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS).
      • State anxiety is more frequent among subjects with a recent MS diagnosis.
      • PwMS and clinically relevant state anxiety more often display MRI disease activity.
      • Trait anxiety is more prevalent among female PwMS with higher severity of fatigue.
      • Both state and trait anxiety are associated with higher depression severity.

      Abstract

      Background

      Anxiety represents one of the most prevalent psychiatric symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS), impacting the overall disease burden and quality of life. This psychopathological feature can be expressed as state (S-ANX) and trait (T-ANX) anxiety, but few studies specifically evaluated these two components in MS. The present study was aimed at investigating the prevalence and specific correlates of S-ANX and T-ANX in a cohort of people with MS (PwMS).

      Methods

      88 in- and out-patients with MS were consecutively recruited. S-ANX and T-ANX were evaluated with the two subscales of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory. Bivariate analyses were performed to compare PwMS who displayed clinically significant S-ANX and T-ANX and those who did not. Two logistic regression models were run in order to identify variables significantly associated with S-ANX and T-ANX.

      Results

      S-ANX and T-ANX presented a prevalence of 42% and 45.5%, respectively. S-ANX was more frequent in subjects hospitalized due to recent MS onset. PwMS and S-ANX more frequently had a recent relapse, as well as evidence of disease activity on brain magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects with T-ANX were more often females and displayed higher severity of fatigue. Depressive features at the Beck Depression Inventory were more severe in both S-ANX and T-ANX subjects. PwMS with S-ANX reported a higher prevalence of T-ANX and vice versa. At the logistic regressions, depression severity displayed a significant association with S-ANX and T-ANX. We also detected positive associations between S-ANX and inpatient status, as well as between T-ANX and female sex.

      Conclusion

      Both S-ANX and T-ANX are highly prevalent features in PwMS. These two components of anxiety should be adequately identified and discriminated in the clinical practice. The higher severity of depression in PwMS with clinically significant anxiety should not be neglected.

      Keywords

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