The prevalence of anxiety and associated factors in persons with multiple sclerosis

Tram Pham, Nathalie Jetté, Andrew G.M. Bulloch, Jodie M. Burton, Samuel Wiebe, Scott B. Patten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background The prevalence of anxiety and its association with sociodemographic and clinical factors is not well characterized in those with multiple sclerosis (MS). We aimed to estimate the prevalence and examine associated factors of anxiety in persons with MS. Methods A cross-sectional analysis was conducted utilizing data from 244 participants from the Neurological Disease and Depression study. Anxiety was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression was used to examine anxiety and associated factors. Results Nearly 30.0% of participants had anxiety according to the HADS. The most prevalent symptom of anxiety was “worrying thoughts” (26.6%). After adjustment for various confounders, depression (OR: 7.31 95% CI 3.29–16.26) was found to be associated with higher odds of anxiety, while lower odds of anxiety were associated with higher education (OR: 0.51, 95% CI 0.28–0.94). Furthermore, anxiety was strongly associated with decreased quality of life. Conclusion Anxiety represents a substantial burden for those with MS and is associated with a variety of adverse outcomes including decreased quality of life. Our results further emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of anxiety in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Demyelination
  • Epidemiology
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric disorders


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