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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Pragmatic detection of anxiety and depression in a prospective cohort of voice outpatient clinic attenders

J Montgomery, J Hendry, J A Wilson, I J Deary, K MacKenzie
Clinical Otolaryngology 2016, 41 (1): 2-7
25973976

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate diagnostic performance of the emotional domain of the VoiSS questionnaire compared with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.

SETTING: Tertiary referral centre voice clinic.

PARTICIPANTS: 210 consecutive voice clinic patients.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Screening with VoiSS and HADS questionnaires. Paired comparison, correlation, multinomial logistic regression and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 177 returned complete data sets. Ninety-six patients (54.2%) had functional dysphonia, and 81 (45.8%) had organic laryngeal disorders. Mean total VoiSS score = 39.7/120 (standard deviation (sd) 22.2). Mean emotional VoiSS subscale = 7.6/22 (sd 7.5). Mean HADS anxiety = 6.5/21 (sd 5.2) and depression mean = 7.1/21 (sd 4.8). There were 35 (20%) borderline anxiety and/or depression scores and 30 (17%) scores considered positive for 'caseness'. There was strong correlation between emotional VoiSS and HADS anxiety (Spearman's Rho = 0.68, P < 0.001) and HADS depression (Spearman's Rho = 0.62, P < 0.001). ROC curve analysis exhibited significant association between emotional VoiSS and HADS 'caseness' (area under curve = 0.88). In addition, functional dysphonia patients had lower mean VoiSS and HADS scores than patients with identifiable laryngeal abnormalities.

CONCLUSION: The VoiSS emotional subscale strongly correlates with HADS anxiety and depression scores and could be used as a measure of psychological distress. This could allow targeted psychological strategies, without additional psychometric questionnaires. Functional dysphonia has less association with psychological distress than certain organic laryngological disorders.

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