People with symptoms of Ménière's disease: the relationship between illness intrusiveness, illness uncertainty, dizziness handicap, and depression

Megan Arroll, Christine P Dancey, Elizabeth A Attree, Sharon Smith, Trevor James
Otology & Neurotology 2012, 33 (5): 816-23

HYPOTHESIS: The goal of this study was to assess the impact of dizziness handicap, illness intrusiveness (in relation to vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing problems), and illness uncertainty on depression in people with the symptoms of Ménière's disease.

BACKGROUND: Ménière's disease is a progressive disease of the inner ear, the symptoms of which are vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and aural fullness. Although pharmacologic treatments may reduce acute vertigo spells and dizziness, they rarely disappear entirely. Previous research shows that Ménière's disease is unpredictable and has a negative impact on patients' quality of life.

METHODS: Questionnaires measuring Dizziness Handicap, Illness Intrusiveness, Illness Uncertainty, and Depression were completed by 74 people with self-reported symptoms of Ménière's disease. Bivariate correlations, repeated-measures analysis of variance, and multiple regression analyses were used to assess the contribution of dizziness handicap, illness intrusiveness, and illness uncertainty to depression.

CONCLUSION: Vertigo was more intrusive than tinnitus, hearing problems, and most other comparator illnesses. The intrusiveness of the symptoms of Ménière's disease accounted for 32% of the variance in depression scores, which were high; illness uncertainty did not account for additional variance. Dizziness handicap accounted for 31% of the variation in depression. Although the symptoms of Ménière's disease may not be alleviated by psychological methods, programs that target cognitions in relation to the embarrassment in front of others, and the feeling of being handicapped, may lessen the psychosocial impact of the symptoms of Ménière's disease, which may reduce some of the depression felt in this group.


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