Purpose: To explore how social support is associated with anxiety and depression in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients controlling for gender, disease duration and disease severity. Methods: The sample consisted of 124 patients (52.4% male; mean age 68.1 +/- 8.4 years; mean disease duration 6.3 +/- 5.5 years). Anxiety and depression were measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, social support with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support and disease severity with the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale. Data were analyzed using linear regression. Results: Gender, disease duration, disease severity and social support explained 31% of the total variance in anxiety in younger PD patients but did not significantly contribute to the explanation of depression. In the older group, this model explained 41% of the variance in depression but did not significantly contribute to the explanation of anxiety. Conclusion: PD patients experience the positive influence of social support differently according to age. In the younger group, disease duration plays the primary role regarding anxiety. In the older group, poor social support especially from friends is associated with more depression after controlling for the relevant variables.
Implications of Rehabilitation
PD is a disease of older age with a neurodegenerative character and treatment should focus on increasing quality of life.
Anxiety and depression are common co-morbidities in PD patients.
The support network should also be screened regularly and involved in enhancing the quality of life.