Disability and life satisfaction in neurological disorders: the role of depression and perceived cognitive difficulties

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    Background: This study assessed factors associated with disability and life satisfaction in a large cohort of 2246 Australian adults with neurological disorders who completed an online survey of mental health and wellbeing. It was hypothesised that depressive symptoms and perceived cognitive difficulties would be significantly associated with both outcomes, even after controlling for significant demographic/medical covariates (e.g., age, marital-status, employment, multi-morbidity, medication). Differences in profiles of four neurological subgroups (i.e., multiple sclerosis; n = 738, epilepsy; n = 672, Parkinson's disease; n = 263, and Acquired Bran Injury; n = 278) were explored.

    Methods: Multiple hierarchical linear regressions were run using cross-sectional data.

    Results: Depressive symptoms made a significant and large unique contribution to higher levels of disability (β = 0.333, p < .001), and poorer life satisfaction (β = -0.434, p < .001), in the overall sample and across all four neurological subgroups (β = 0.349 to 0.513, p < .001) Greater perceived cognitive difficulties were associated with disability in the overall sample (β = 0.318, p < .001) and across all neurological subgroups (β = 0.231 to 0.354, p < .001), but only life satisfaction in epilepsy (β = -0.107, p = 006).

    Conclusions: The findings underscore the importance of managing psychological/neuropsychiatric comorbidities in neurological disorders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-23
    Number of pages8
    JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
    Early online date2 Sept 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


    • quality of life
    • predictors
    • neuropsychiatric
    • neurology
    • mental health
    • subjective cognitive complaints


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