Posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and health-related quality of life in patients with bipolar disorder: review and new data from a multi-site community clinic sample

Laura A Bajor, Zongshan Lai, David E Goodrich, Christopher J Miller, Robert B Penfold, Hyungjin Myra Kim, Mark S Bauer, Amy M Kilbourne
Journal of Affective Disorders 2013 February 20, 145 (2): 232-9

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that patients with bipolar disorder have an elevated risk for comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to those without a bipolar diagnosis. Although bipolar disorder is associated with decreased health-related quality of life (HRQOL), it is unclear whether comorbid PTSD interacts to affect HRQOL.

METHOD: Baseline data from a multi-site study of patients with bipolar disorder were analyzed. Patient surveys ascertained clinical and demographic information, including physical and mental HRQOL based on the SF-12, mood symptoms (PHQ-9, Internal State Scale), and self-reported co-occurring conditions including PTSD.

RESULTS: Overall (N=384), 44.9% of patients self-reported co-occurring PTSD. Patients with PTSD had lower physical and mental HRQOL scores compared to those without PTSD (mean (SD) for those with and without PTSD, respectively): Mental Component Scale score 30.51 (8.22) and 32.86 (8.35); Physical Component Scale score 35.56 (7.77) and 37.21 (7.20). After adjusting for demographic and clinical factors including mood symptoms, multiple linear regression analyses revealed that PTSD was no longer significantly associated with physical or mental HRQOL; however, depressive symptoms were independently associated with mental HRQOL (Beta -0.63, p<0.01).

CONCLUSION: Depressive symptoms may explain the association between PTSD and mental HRQOL. Clinicians working with these patients will want to emphasize treatment of depression as important towards improving HRQOL for this group.

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