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Less Pain Predicts Better Functioning in Patients With Partially Remitted MDD

December 06, 2020

Functional impairment and pain were negatively and significantly correlated in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) in partial remission, according to a study published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders. 

“Pain and functionality should be assessed and treated in patients with MDD in partial remission,” researchers advised.  

The multicenter, observational study included 583 outpatients with partially remitted MDD. Researchers explored the association between pain and functional impairment through measures of pain intensity (visual analog scale), functional impairment (Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale), and depressive symptoms (the six-item Hamilton Depression Scale, or HAM-D6), as well as remission from MDD and functional status from a patient-centered perspective (Remission from Depression Questionnaire).

Functional impairment and pain were negatively linked both in the total sample of patients as well as in the 309 patients with pain, the study found. Lower levels of pain predicted higher levels of functioning.

Patients with pain tended to be older, less educated, have more medical comorbidities, have higher HAM-D6 scores, and have lower functioning, researchers reported. Patients with pain also had significantly higher scores on symptom-related subscales—and lower scores in subscales reflecting positive mental health, functioning, and well-being—on the Remission from Depression Questionnaire. 

“Our results indicate that functionality should be assessed with a broader perspective that also considers positive mental health features,” researchers concluded. 

Jolynn Tumolo 


Pérez V, Martínez-Navarro R, Pérez-Aranda A, et al. A multicenter, observational study of pain and functional impairment in individuals with major depressive disorder in partial remission: the DESIRE study [published online ahead of print, 2020 Nov 12]. J Affect Disord. 2020;S0165-0327(20)33028-7. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.11.095

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