Depression is a strong and significant meditator in the association between social participation and the mental aspects of health-related quality of life in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), a new study published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders found.

Patients should therefore be helped and encouraged to actively participate in social life, the authors said. However, it is also important to monitor them for signs of depression and provide treatment whenever necessary. 

Depression is one of the most common symptoms of NMOSD, which is expected to affect social participation. Both depression and social participation are independent predictors of health-related quality of life. 


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In the present study, a team of researchers from China explored how much depression may regulate the relationship between social participation and quality of life.

The team surveyed 138 patients with NMOSD who were discharged from the hospital and quantified their abilities in daily living activities using the Barthel Index. They also used the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Impact on Participation and Autonomy questionnaire.

The results showed that on average, the studied patients had a poor quality of life and they performed poorly on the SF-36. Using structural equation modeling, the researchers found that social participation and the physical aspects of quality of life were strongly associated with each other.

Depression was not found to be a mediator in the relationship between social participation and the physical aspects of quality of life. However, it was a strong and significant meditator in the association between social participation and the mental aspects of quality of life.

“These findings help to clarify the direct and indirect effects of depression and social participation on the life quality of patients with [NMOSDs],” the researchers concluded.

Reference

Wang T, Ruan H, Fan P, et al. Social participation and quality of life among patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders: the mediating effects of depression. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021;5(57). doi:10.1016/j.msard.2021.103445