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J Hepatol. 2002 Mar;36(3):401-7.

Emotional distress in chronic hepatitis C patients not receiving antiviral therapy.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical School, 3912 Taubman Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0362, USA.



The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence, type, and severity of emotional distress in a large group of consecutive chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients not receiving anti-viral therapy.


The brief symptom inventory and a 67-item questionnaire with the SF-36 embedded within it were used to study 220 outpatients with compensated CHC.


Seventy-seven (35%) participants reported significantly elevated global severity index (GSI) T-scores compared to an expected frequency of 10% in population controls. In addition, significantly elevated depression, anxiety, somatization, psychoticism, and obsessive-compulsive subscale T-scores were reported in 28-40% of subjects. Subjects with an active psychiatric co-morbidity had significantly higher GSI and subscale T-scores compared to subjects with active medical co-morbidities and subjects without medical or psychiatric co-morbidities (P<0.01). However, patients with CHC alone also had a higher frequency of elevated GSI T-scores compared to population controls (20 versus 10%). GSI and subscale T-scores were strongly associated with SF-36 summary scores (P<0.001).


Clinically significant emotional distress was reported in 35% of CHC patients not receiving antiviral therapy. In addition to depression, a broad array of psychological symptoms were observed. Further investigation into the etiopathogenesis and treatment of emotional distress in CHC patients is warranted.

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