Introduction: This investigation determined whether improved physical function and decreased pain would reduce depressive symptoms using the Patient-reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS).
Methods: This cohort study analyzed PROMIS Depression, Physical Function, and Pain Interference CAT scores from 3,339 patients presenting to a tertiary orthopaedic center. Patients demonstrating at least a-five point (effect size, 0.5) improvement in PROMIS Physical Function between consecutive visits were eligible for inclusion.
Results: Patients presented, on average, with Physical Function and Pain Interference scores nearly one SD worse than population averages and Depression scores that approximated the normal population. Improved Physical Function and Pain Interference scores demonstrated no correlation with change in Depression scores (r = -0.13; r = 0.25).
Conclusion: Substantial early improvement in PROMIS Physical Function scores is not associated with change in PROMIS Depression scores. PROMIS Depression scores likely reflect underlying mental health rather than situational depressive symptoms.
Level of evidence: Prognostic, level III.