Background: Cognitive complaints have been previously related to depressive symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS), whereas self-reported executive performance has been postulated as generally reliable. Nevertheless, little is known about dysexecutive complaints (DC) and its relationship with depression and anxiety.
Objective: (i) Study self-reported dysexecutive symptoms in attention, motivation, executive control, social behavior and emotional regulation in MS compared to control group (HC). (ii) Analyse the relation between cognitive complaints and emotional symptoms.
Methods: We collect 30 MS patients from the clinic (63% women; mean age, 43.93 y.o.; 10 years of evolution of the disease; EDSS mean 2.4; 16.6 years of schooling) and 30 healthy controls (HC) (58% women; mean age, 39.6. y.o.; 15.03 years of schooling). Participants are requested to complete the Inventory of Prefrontal Symptoms (IPS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Statistical analysis was performed.
Results: Significant differences were found in the IPS sub-scales: attention (p<0.00), Motivation (p<0.00) and social behavior (p<0.00) between MS and HC; no differences were found in executive control and emotional regulation. Significant differences were also found in BDI and Trait Anxiety (TA) between both groups, but not in state anxiety (SA). Significant correlations (p<0.05) were found between emotional symptoms and IPS Subscales. A linear regression was performed finding that BDI and trait anxiety explained 87.3% of variance for IPS total score; in addition, TA explained 38.7% of the variance of motivation, 38.5% of executive control, 26.5% of social behavior and 42.3% of emotional regulation for MS group, while SA explained 26% of the attention complaints.
Conclusion: MS report more subjective complaints of attention, motivation and social behavior than HC and more TA and depression symptoms. Whereas SA significantly predicts a high percentage of attention symptoms, TA predicts social inadequacy, emotional regulation problems, lack of motivation for action and difficulties in executive control. These results consider the extent to which DC are related to emotional problems, objective cognitive deficits or personality factors and whether anxious personality in MS is as an emotional consequence of the disease or whether this pattern is related to structural changes that affect the tools to deal with stressful situations.