Journal of Neurology

, 255:1750 | Cite as

Depression in focal, segmental and generalized dystonia

  • L. Lewis
  • A. Butler
  • M. Jahanshahi


Dystonia causes body disfigurement in the majority of those affected. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that low self-esteem resulting from the sense of disfigurement is an important component of self-reported depression in focal, segmental and generalized dystonia. Questionnaires to assess self-reported depression, self-esteem, body concept, disfigurement, disability and quality of life were completed by 329 community based dystonia patients. Moderate to severe depression was reported by 30 %. Self-reported depression had a strong somatic component, but patients also showed a specific concern with self-image. Extent of dystonia, body parts affected and marital status influenced self-reported depression in dystonia. Selfesteem, body concept, disfigurement and quality of life emerged as factors which accounted for the variance of self-reported depression in dystonia. These results suggest that in dystonia, disfigurement, negative body concept, low self-esteem, and the impact of the disease on quality of life make important contributions to depression. However, longitudinal followup is required to firmly establish the direction of causality between depression and these psychosocial variables in dystonia.

Key words

dystonia depression psychosocial disfigurement disability quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cognitive-Motor Neuroscience Group, Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience & Movement DisordersInstitute of Neurology & The National Hospital for Neurology & NeurosurgeryLondonUK
  2. 2.Dystonia EpidemiologistHunters Moor Regional Rehabilitation CentreNewcastleUK

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