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Depression in Sjögren's syndrome mediates the relationship between pain, fatigue, sleepiness, and overall quality of life

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tiago Costa, Professor Stephen Rushton, Dr Stuart Watson, Professor Fai NgORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 Tiago Costa, Stephen P Rushton, Stuart Watson, Wan-Fai Ng, on behalf of the UK primary Sjögren's Syndrome Registry, published by De Gruyter on behalf of the SMP. Objectives: Sjögren's syndrome (SS) includes many extra-glandular symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleepiness and depression, which impact on quality of life (QoL). These symptoms also influence each other and could be linked by autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysregulation. Our aim was to model the role of putative predictive variables, including depression in the relationships between ANS function, fatigue, and QoL in SS. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of self-reported data from the multicentre UK primary SS registry. The Composite Autonomic Symptom Scale (COMPASS) was used to assess autonomic function, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess anxiety and depression and the EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D) to assess QoL. Validated scales were used for other clinical variables. Using multiple regression analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM), we investigated how the QoL of people with SS is impacted by the direct and indirect effects of fatigue, sleepiness, depression, symptom burden and ANS function, and their interactions. Results: Data was obtained for 1046 people with SS, 56% COMPASS completers. Symptoms of ANS dysregulation were common. Participants with ANS dysregulation had more severe depression, anxiety, dryness, fatigue, pain, sleepiness and QoL (P < 0.01 for all). Depression, anxiety, dryness, and pain were independent predictors of ANS function in the multiple regression model (P < 0.05 for all). ANS function could not be included in the SEM. The SEM model had good fit to the data (comparative fit index = 0.998) and showed that, in people with SS, depression mediates the effects of pain, fatigue and sleepiness on QoL. Conclusion: Our results show that diagnosing and treating depression in people with SS could have direct positive impact on QoL, and significantly ameliorate the impact of fatigue and pain.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Costa T, Rushton SP, Watson S, Ng W-F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Rheumatology and Immunology Research

Year: 2023

Volume: 4

Issue: 2

Pages: 78-89

Online publication date: 22/07/2023

Acceptance date: 28/05/2023

Date deposited: 27/10/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2719-4523

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH


DOI: 10.2478/rir-2023-0012


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