30.03.2021 | Original Article
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Relative to Swallowing Impairment in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis
Zahra Sadeghi, Zahra Sadat Ghoreishi, Heather Flowers, Parvaneh Mohammadkhani, Fereshteh Ashtari, Mehdi Noroozi
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Dysphagia and symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress are common in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). We posited a relationship between dysphagia and increased frequency of psychological symptoms. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine associations between symptoms of psychological difficulties, use of emotional suppression and cognitive reappraisal strategies, and dysphagia status in persons with MS. One hundred persons with MS were prospectively assessed in multiple domains of functioning: cognitive, psychological, and dysphagia-related. Participants underwent cognitive screening with the Mini Mental State Examination and completed two psychological inventories: The depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS)-21 and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. Further, they completed the dysphagia in Multiple Sclerosis questionnaire. A speech-language pathologist evaluated persons suspected of having dysphagia with the Mann Assessment of Swallowing Ability. Dysphagia was present in 29 persons with MS, and the sample was split accordingly. The two groups differed at baseline with respect to Expanded Disability Status Scale scores. There were significant between-group differences for mental health symptoms and for use of emotional regulation strategies. Accordingly, multivariate logistic regressions showed that increased symptoms of psychological stress, decreased use of cognitive reappraisal strategies, and increased indicators of emotional suppression independently predicted the presence of dysphagia. There was a clear pattern towards poorer psychological well-being in persons with dysphagia compared to those without. Psychological difficulties may contribute to the manifestation or worsening of dysphagia and should be addressed in treatment planning and future investigations. Therapeutic interventions that promote improvement in mental state alongside swallowing function may be highly beneficial.