Objectives: To compare health-related quality of life and depression between individuals with an inability to smell (anosmia) and a comparison group of individuals with a normal sense of smell.
Methods: Ninety individuals from an anosmia organization (anosmia based on self-report) were compared to 89 individuals with a normal sense of smell. The SF-36 and Beck Depression Inventory-II-NL (BDI-II-NL) were administered, along with the Questionnaire for Olfactory Dysfunction (QOD) to assess the degree of problems in daily life related to the smell impairment.
Results: Compared to the comparison group, scores in the anosmia group differed on: the QOD-subscale Life Quality (related to tasting and smelling: p < .001) and Parosmia (Smelling odors as different: p < .001); and the SF-36 subscales of Social Functioning, Vitality, Mental Health and General Health (p's < .05). Persons with anosmia scored higher on the BDI-II-NL than persons from the comparison group (p < .01).
Discussion: Once a smell dysfunction is recognized, interventions aiming at dealing with the loss of smell as a source of information and enjoyment, as well as at improvement of emotional wellbeing, social interaction, energy, and depression should be considered.