Gender Differences in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Concerning Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life

Lupus. 2016 Oct;25(12):1315-27. doi: 10.1177/0961203316638934. Epub 2016 Mar 16.


Several studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, few data address gender differences regarding these manifestations. This study aimed to investigate gender differences in the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and their effect on the quality of life (QOL) of male and female SLE patients. This study included 54 male SLE patients, 54 female SLE patients, 54 male controls and 54 female controls. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); the anxiety symptoms were examined using HADS. We used the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) to assess QOL. Depressive symptoms were found in 22.2% of BDI respondents, 24.1% of CES-D respondents and 13% of HADS-D respondents who were male SLE patients; while in the female SLE patient group, they were found in 38.9% of BDI respondents (p = 0.063), 51.9% of CES-D respondents (p = 0.653) and 31.5% of HADS-D respondents (p = 0.003). Anxiety symptoms were found in 16.7% of the male SLE patients and 38.9% of the female SLE patients (p = 0.024). Lower scores on the SF-36 (for QOL) were found in both male and female SLE patients with depression and anxiety symptoms. In conclusion, we observed significant gender differences regarding the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in patients with SLE, with significantly higher values in the female group. The presence of these symptoms appears to have a negative effect on the QOL of patients of both genders.

Keywords: Anxiety; Brazil; depression; gender; quality of life; systemic lupus erythematosus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Factors