Daily fluctuations of negative affect are only weakly associated with tremor symptoms in functional and organic tremor patients

Gerrit Kramer, Elisabeth H Bos, Mark J Edwards, Marina A J Tijssen, Judith G M Rosmalen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is a long-standing research history on the presumed psychological origin of functional movement disorders. Most studies do not address the heterogeneity in functional movement disorders and do not distinguish between risk factors, causes and consequences. We studied the associations between negative affect and objective as well as subjective symptom levels in patients with functional and organic tremor.

METHODS: Thirty-three patients with a functional (14) or organic tremor (19) completed a web-based diary on subjective symptom burden and negative affect, five times a day for 30 days (total number of observations = 4759). During the same period, the participants wore an accelerometer to objectively record tremor. Vector autoregressive modelling was used to determine the time-lagged and contemporaneous associations between negative affect and objective/subjective tremor symptoms, both on an individual and a group level.

RESULTS: In contrast to previous literature, patients with a functional or organic tremor showed a weak contemporaneous association between negative affect and objective/subjective tremor symptoms (on average r = 0.038 and 0.174 respectively). Time-lagged associations between negative affect and objective/subjective tremor symptoms were mixed in effect and direction and only present in a subset of patients, with no differences between patients with functional or organic tremor.

CONCLUSIONS: Negative affect is only weakly associated with objective/subjective tremor symptoms, both on the contemporaneous and time-lagged associations, and these associations were mainly similar between patients with functional or organic tremor. These results argue against a strong influence of daily stress on tremor symptoms in patients with a functional or organic tremor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110627
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume150
Early online date23-Sep-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2021

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