Psychological aspects of patients with Fabry disease

J Inherit Metab Dis. 2009 Dec;32(6):745-753. doi: 10.1007/s10545-009-1254-1. Epub 2009 Oct 31.


The Minnesota Muliphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) is widely used in chronic illness and chronic pain populations to assess psychological functioning. We report the results of the first investigation using the MMPI-2 to assess psychological aspects of patients with Fabry disease. Fabry disease, an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder, is a multisystem progressive disease affecting the kidney, heart, and central nervous system, and is particularly associated with chronic symptoms including pain. In this study, 28 patients with Fabry disease completed the MMPI-2 and a background questionnaire. Fabry disease patients scored significantly higher than the MMPI-2 normative sample on seven clinical scales (Hs, D, Hy, Pd, Pa, Pt, Sc) and two validity scales (L, F). Individuals with elevated scores on the Hs, D, and Hy scales tend to have somatic complaints, sadness, and emotional distress. Under stress, they may experience an increase in physical symptoms. Elevated Pd, Pa, Pt, and Sc scales suggest social maladjustment, suspiciousness, and feelings of isolation. An elevated L scale suggests defensiveness; a high score on F suggests emotional turmoil. When compared with cohorts of patients with Gaucher disease (GD), chronic heart disease (CRHD), and chronic pain, the Fabry disease patients had significantly higher scores than GD patients and CRHD patients on numerous clinical (Hs, D, Si), and validity (F) scales underscoring the relative amount of suffering and pain experienced by Fabry disease patients. No significant differences on any MMPI-2 scales were found between the Fabry disease patients and the pain patients, suggesting that Fabry disease patients may be comparable to pain patient populations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fabry Disease / epidemiology
  • Fabry Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gaucher Disease / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychometrics
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Validation Studies as Topic
  • Young Adult