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Hand (N Y). 2010 Mar;5(1):49-55. doi: 10.1007/s11552-009-9205-8. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Quantitative Adjustment of the Influence of Depression on the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) Questionnaire.


Upper extremity specific disability as measured with the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire varies more than expected based upon variations in objective impairment influenced by depression. We tested the hypothesis that adjusting for depression can reduce the mean and variance of DASH scores. Five hundred and sixteen patients (352 men, 164 women) with an average of 58 years of age (range, 18-100) were asked to simultaneously complete the DASH and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) scores at their initial visit to a hand surgeon. Pearson's correlations between each of the DASH items and the CES-D score were obtained. The DASH score was then adjusted for the influence of Depression for women and men using ordinary least-squares regression and subtracting the product of the regression coefficient and the CES-D score from the raw DASH score. The average DASH score was 24 points (SD, 19; range, 0-91), and the average CES-D score was 10 points (SD, 8; range, 0-42). Thirteen of the 30 items of the DASH demonstrated correlation greater than r = 0.20. Adjustment of these DASH items for the depression effect led to significant reductions in the mean (5.5 points; p < 0.01) and standard deviation (0.8 points; p < 0.01) of DASH scores. Adjustment for depression alone had a significant but perhaps clinically marginal effect on the variance of DASH scores. Additional research is merited to determine if DASH score adjustments for the most important subjective and psychosocial aspects of illness behavior can improve correlation between DASH scores and objective impairment.

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