Psychiatric disorder and cognitive impairment in systemic lupus erythematosus

Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Apr;35(4):411-6. doi: 10.1002/art.1780350409.


Objectives: To determine the point prevalence of psychiatric disorder in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). To investigate associations between psychiatric disorder and social stress, cognitive impairment, systemic disease activity, and corticosteroid therapy.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 73 consecutive patients with SLE assessed using standardized psychiatric and clinical research methods.

Results: Current psychiatric disorder was present in 15 patients (20.5%) and was significantly associated with social stress, lack of social support, and impairment on 2 tests of cognitive function (Verbal Fluency Test and Benton Visual Retention Test, Part A, number of errors). There was no association with systemic disease activity or corticosteroid therapy. Cognitive impairment on 2 or more tests was found in 26% and was associated with clinical evidence of central nervous system (CNS) disease, but not systemic disease activity or corticosteroid therapy.

Conclusions: The point prevalence of psychiatric disorder in this cohort of patients with SLE was found to be similar to that observed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It was independently associated with social stress and 2 indicators of cognitive impairment, but not with systemic disease activity or corticosteroid therapy. Marked cognitive impairment was present in a significant percentage of patients even when there was no overt evidence of CNS involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / complications