Perceived Cognitive Deficits in a Sample of Persons Living With Multiple Sclerosis

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Abstract

Purpose: The aims of this study were to describe the nature and diversity of perceived cognitive deficits using the Perceived Deficits Questionnaire (PDQ), to assess the reliability of the PDQ, and to explore self-reported predictors of PDQ scores in a large community-based sample of persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Materials and Methods: Persons with MS enrolled in a randomized controlled trial provided demographic data and completed the PDQ along with measures of cognitive and memory strategies, cognitive abilities, self-efficacy, and depressive symptoms and neuropsychological tests. Results: Most of the 183 participants were non-Hispanic white women, approximately 49 years old, and diagnosed with MS 12.5 years prior. The most frequent cognitive complaints regarded trouble remembering telephone numbers, mind drifting, and forgetting why one came into a room. The PDQ scores were significantly related to self-rated cognitive abilities, depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, and use of cognitive strategies, but not to scores on neuropsychological performance tests. When controlling for other variables, self-rated cognitive abilities was the strongest, significant predictor of perceived cognitive deficits. Conclusion: Persons with MS most frequently experience deficits related to short-term memory and attention. The PDQ total is a reliable measure of perceived cognitive deficits in persons with MS, is feasible for use by nurses in clinical settings—can be administered in approximately 5 minutes, and is easily scored.

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