Background: The impact of metabolic and reproductive features of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compromises psychological functioning. We investigated factors associated with negative psychological functioning to determine whether they were predictive of anxiety and depression in PCOS.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed by questionnaire in 177 women with PCOS (mean ± SD age 32.8 ± 7.8 years) and 109 healthy controls (mean age 41.9 ± 15.4 years). Main outcome measures were anxiety and depression, measured using the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) and Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ), respectively.
Results: Women with PCOS, compared with control women, had a higher mean anxiety HADS score (9.5 ± 3.9 versus 6.5 ± 3.6; P < 0.001), a higher mean depression score (5.7 ± 3.7 versus 3.3 ± 3.1; P < 0.001) and more negative body image in 7 out of 10 subscales of the MBSRQ. Multivariate regression analysis in PCOS showed that anxiety was predicted by self-worth (P < 0.0001), health evaluation (P = 0.005), time taken to diagnose PCOS (P = 0.003) and age (P = 0.02), while in control women, anxiety was predicted by self-worth (P = 0.009), health evaluation (P = 0.001) and rural living (P = 0.03). Depression in PCOS was predicted by self-worth (P = 0.0004), quality of life (QOL) (P = 0.004), fitness orientation (P = 0.002), appearance evaluation (P = 0.001) and time to diagnosis (P = 0.03) and in women without PCOS, by self-worth (P < 0.0001), QOL (P < 0.0001), illness orientation (P = 0.001) and appearance orientation (P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Women with PCOS have increased anxiety, depression and negative body image compared with women without PCOS. In women with or without PCOS, body image and self-worth are predictors of both anxiety and depression, while QOL also predicts only depression. Time taken to diagnose PCOS is associated with poor psychological functioning.