Prevalence and Severity of Depression and Anxiety in Patients With Systemic Sclerosis: An Epidemiologic Survey and Investigation of Clinical Correlates

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Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic multisystem connective tissue disorder with detrimental impact on quality of life. Patients with SSc face emotional distress and frequently meet criteria for a psychiatric disorder. However, the pattern of psychiatric manifestations may vary according to socioethnic background.


We investigated the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms and examined their association with sociodemographic and clinical factors in Iranian SSc patients.


Depressive and anxiety symptoms were evaluated by Beck Depression Inventory and Cattell questionnaire in 114 SSc patients. The associations between sociodemographic and clinical factors and depressive/anxiety symptoms were examined via multivariate analysis.


The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 68.4%. There was a significant association between depressive symptoms and pulmonary and gastrointestinal manifestations. Also, diffuse SSc patients were more prone to depressive symptoms. Mean Rodnan scores were significantly higher in patients with depressive symptoms in comparison with subjects with no depressive symptoms. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms was 23.6%. Anxiety symptoms were not associated with demographic characteristics, SSc subtype, disease duration, Rodnan score, other clinical features, and previous history of depression in the patients or their family. The coincidence of anxiety and depression was 82.8%.


Depressive and anxiety symptoms are prevalent among Iranian SSc population. The depressive symptoms showed correlation with pulmonary and gastrointestinal involvement, as well as diffuse SSc subtype.

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