Quality of life and personality in essential tremor patients

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The aim of this study was to determine the impact of essential tremor (ET) on quality of life and its relation with tremor severity and the personality profile of ET patients. One hundred and five patients with definite or probable ET from an outpatient population were tested with the Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF36) and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R). Compared to controls, the ET patients scored worse in all eight domains of the SF36. The physical component score (PCS) did not differ significantly from the normal population, whereas ET patients older than 40 years were significantly more affected with regard to the mental domains measured by the mental component score (MCS) with their median below the 20th percentile of the German controls. Tremor severity correlated with some of the physical domains and the PCS as well as with social function of the mental domains. ET patients showed significantly lower scores in the psychoticism (P) scale of the EPQ-R, with a median value on the 11th percentile of normal German population, indicating a more tender-minded personality type. The MCS correlated highly significant with the neuroticism (N) scale and extraversion (E) scale of EPQ-R. Multiple regression analysis identified age as the only predictive factor for the PCS and the N-scale as the only predictive factor for the MCS. Although ET is considered a pure movement disorder, the mental components of quality of life are more affected than the physical dimensions. A more controlled personality type may in part contribute to this. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society

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