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J Rheumatol. 2005 Jan;32(1):51-7.

Correlates of depression, including overall and gastrointestinal functional status, among patients with systemic sclerosis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Epidemiology, Center for Health Care Research, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. nieterpj@musc.edu



Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) may develop psychological problems in addition to physiologic symptoms. We investigated whether demographic and clinical factors are associated with comorbid depression.


From a university hospital's rheumatology clinic, 72 SSc patients who completed 3 questionnaires [Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, an abbreviated version of a functional status instrument, the Scleroderma Health Assessment Questionnaire (SHAQ), and the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (GIQLI)] during an examination were recruited into the study. Correlations among scores on the 3 questionnaires [including upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract subscales of the GIQLI] were calculated, and associations between CES-D scores and a variety of demographic and clinical characteristics were examined using stepwise linear regression.


Higher CES-D scores (i.e., more depression symptoms) were significantly correlated with upper (r = -0.48, p < 0.0001) and lower (r = -0.41, p < 0.001) GI tract dysfunction and worse overall functional status (r = 0.51, p < 0.0001). Stepwise regression indicated that higher levels of depression were independently associated with lower levels of education (p < 0.01), worse upper GI tract functioning (p = 0.019), worse functional status (p = 0.34), current corticosteroid use (p = 0.061), and cardiac involvement (p = 0.086).


Decreased functional status and abnormal GI functioning are significantly correlated with depression among patients with SSc. Other demographic and clinical indicators are also associated with depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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