Positive Affect and Well-Being in Huntington's Disease Moderates the Association Between Functional Impairment and HRQOL Outcomes

J Huntingtons Dis. 2019;8(2):221-232. doi: 10.3233/JHD-180341.


Background: Positive affect is associated with resiliency and beneficial health outcomes, but little is known about associations between positive affect and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in Huntington's disease (HD).

Objective: This longitudinal study determined the association between positive affect and several HRQOL outcomes in persons with HD. Functional status was examined as a moderator of the association between positive affect and HRQOL.

Methods: Participants, with premanifest (i.e., genetically at risk but no clinical diagnosis, n = 50) and manifest HD (early-stage n = 171; late-stage n = 101), completed a measure of positive affect and well-being and several HRQOL measures at baseline, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups. UHDRS Functional Assessment scale indicated functional status.

Results: Positive affect was associated with better HRQOL for persons with premanifest and manifest HD over the 24-month time frame. These associations were moderated by functional status. For persons with higher functional status, positive affect was associated with better HRQOL, including less depression, lower anxiety, less anger, better social role satisfaction, better executive functions, greater upper extremity function, less dyscontrol, and less concern with death and dying. For persons with lower functional status, positive affect was not associated with HRQOL.

Conclusions: Positive affect predicted better self-reported HRQOL over a 24-month period in persons with premanifest and manifest HD, particularly when participnats had better functional status. Interventions to enhance positive affect in HD may have beneficial effects on HRQOL.

Keywords: Huntington’s disease; Quality of life; functional assessment; longitudinal; positive affect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / psychology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*