Objective: Previous reports demonstrating quality-of-life impairment in anxiety and affective disorders have relied upon epidemiological samples or relatively small clinical studies. Administration of the same quality-of-life scale, the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, to subjects entering multiple large-scale trials for depression and anxiety disorders allowed us to compare the impact of these disorders on quality of life.
Method: Baseline Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, demographic, and clinical data from 11 treatment trials, including studies of major depressive disorder, chronic/double depression, dysthymic disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were analyzed.
Results: The proportion of patients with clinically severe impairment (two or more standard deviations below the community norm) in quality of life varied with different diagnoses: major depressive disorder (63%), chronic/double depression (85%), dysthymic disorder (56%), panic disorder (20%), OCD (26%), social phobia (21%), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (31%), and PTSD (59%). Regression analyses conducted for each disorder suggested that illness-specific symptom scales were significantly associated with baseline quality of life but explained only a small to modest proportion of the variance in Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire scores.
Conclusions: Subjects with affective or anxiety disorders who enter clinical trials have significant quality-of-life impairment, although the degree of dysfunction varies. Diagnostic-specific symptom measures explained only a small proportion of the variance in quality of life, suggesting that an individual's perception of quality of life is an additional factor that should be part of a complete assessment.