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Psychological distress is associated with vision-related but not with generic quality of life in patients with visual field defects after cerebral lesions

Carolin Gall, Iris Mueller, Gabriele H. Franke, Bernhard A. Sabel
  • Carolin Gall
    Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Medical Faculty, Institute of Medical Psychology, Magdeburg, Germany | Carolin.Gall@med.ovgu.de
  • Iris Mueller
    Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Medical Faculty, Institute of Medical Psychology, Magdeburg, Germany
  • Gabriele H. Franke
    University of Magdeburg-Stendal, Department of Rehabilitation Psychology, Stendal, Germany
  • Bernhard A. Sabel
    Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Medical Faculty, Institute of Medical Psychology, Magdeburg, Germany

Abstract

Considerably diminished quality of life (QoL) is observed in patients with visual field defects after lesions affecting the visual pathway. But little is known to what extent vision- and health-related QoL impairments are associated with psychological distress. In 24 patients with chronic visual field defects (mean age=56.17±12.36) the National Eye Institute-visual functioning questionnaire (NEI-VFQ) for vision-related QoL, the Short Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36) for generic QoL and the revised Symptom-Checklist (SCL- 90-R) were administered. Cases with clinically relevant SCL-90-R symptoms were defined. Demographic, QoL and visual field parameters were correlated with SCL-90-R scales. About 40% of the investigated patients met the crite- ria for the definition of psychiatric caseness. 8/12 NEI-VFQ scales correlated significantly with SCL-90-R phobic anxiety (r-range -0.41 to -0.64, P<0.05), 5/12 NEI-VFQ scales correlated with SCL-90-R interpersonal sensitivity (-0.43 to -0.50), and 3/12 with SCL-90-R depression (-0.51 to -0.57) and obsessive-compulsiveness (-0.41 to -0.43). In contrast, only 1/8 SF-36 scales correlated significantly with SCL-90-R depression, phobic anxiety and interpersonal sensitivity (-0.41 to -0.54). No substantial correlations were observed between visual field parameters and SCL-90-R scales. Significant correlations of SCL-90-R with NEI-VFQ but not with SF-36 suggest that self-rated psychological distress is the result of diminished vision- related QoL as a consequence of visual field loss. The extent of visual field loss itself did not influence the rating of psychological distress directly, since SCL-90-R symptoms were only reported when diminished vision-related QoL was present. Patients with reduced vision-related QoL due to persisting visual field defects should therefore be offered additional neuropsychological rehabilitation and supportive psychotherapeutic interventions even years after the lesion.

Keywords

neuropsychological testing, phobic anxiety, psychological distress, Symptom-Checklist-90-revised, visual field defect, cerebral damage

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Submitted: 2011-05-31 10:49:51
Published: 2012-09-06 16:05:21
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Copyright (c) 2012 Carolin Gall, Iris Mueller, Gabriele H. Franke, Bernhard A. Sabel

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