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Distress, depression and coping in HLA-B27-associated anterior uveitis with focus on gender differences


Background/aims To evaluate depression, coping with disease and stress, and the subjective impression of distress and/or life events as triggers for recurrences in HLA-B27-associated anterior uveitis (B27-AU), with attention to gender-specific characteristics.

Methods 171 patients with a history of B27-AU responded to a postal survey performed between January 2006 and April 2008 using standardised psychological questionnaires: Beck Depression Inventory, Freiburg Questionnaire on Coping with Illness, and Stress Coping Inventory.

Results Patients with B27-AU differed from healthy controls showing more depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory, 31.6%), applying characteristic disease coping as well as negative stress coping strategies. Female B27-AU patients tended to react with depression and male patients to use negative stress coping strategies. 57.9% of patients believed that psychological distress was a trigger for relapses, and 34.5% stated specific life events. Together, this group of patients achieved higher depression scores and used more negative disease and stress coping styles than patients without perception of distress.

Conclusion Patients with B27-AU patients exhibited significant psychopathology concerning depression and disease coping. Distress and life events were subjectively suspected to be a trigger. By imparting knowledge to the patients on probable development of depressive moods and the role of stress/life events as trigger for relapses, as well as offering behaviour therapy to optimise coping, may help patients to cope better with B27-AU.

  • Depression
  • coping skills
  • distress
  • gender
  • anterior uveitis
  • inflammation

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