This explorative study is concerned with assessing the psychosocial impact of living with a pituitary condition. In collaboration with the Pituitary Foundation, who work to understand and represent the experiences of patients, this study explored the psychosocial issues that are evident for and identified by patients with a pituitary condition (anxiety, depression and appearance related distress).
All participants (n=128; age range:18-75), were recruited from the foundations membership list. A random stratified sampling method was used which identified patients who had one of four conditions (Acromegaly, Cushings Disease, Prolactinoma and Hypopituitarism). 200 questionnaire packs were distributed via post, with a 64% response rate. Questionnaires included measures of anxiety and depression (HADS); quality of life (WHOQoL); beliefs about appearance (ASI-R); impact on lifestyle and worry regarding the condition (Visual Analogue Scales)
Preliminary analysis (n=86) on the HADS data revealed that female participants scored considerably higher on the anxiety scale than the males (P<0.05). Levels for general anxiety were considerably raised compared to relevant norms (Crawford et al 2001) (52.8% of participants scoring >8) as were levels of depression (28.7% scoring >8). No significant differences were observed between males and females on their appearance related anxiety.
The data suggests that having a pituitary condition has a significant effect on the psychological and emotional wellbeing and quality of life of patients. This psychological impact needs to be acknowledged and managed sensitively if they are to experience an improved sense of identity and quality of life.
06 - 07 Nov 2006
Society for Endocrinology