Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/16351
Psychosocial impact at the time of a rare disease diagnosis
PLoS One. 2023 Jul 28;18(7):e0288875.
Over half of all persons with rare diseases (RDs) in Spain experience diagnostic delay (DD) but little is known about its consequences. This study therefore aimed to analyze the psychological impact of obtaining a diagnosis of an RD, and to ascertain what social determinants are influenced and what the personal consequences are, according to whether or not patients experienced DD. Data were obtained from a purpose-designed form completed by persons registered at the Spanish Rare Diseases Patient Registry. The following were performed: a descriptive analysis; a principal component analysis (PCA); and logistic regressions. Results revealed that while searching for a diagnosis, people who experienced DD were more in need of psychological care than those diagnosed in less than one year (36.2% vs 23.2%; p = 0.002; n = 524). The PCA identified three principal components, i.e., psychological effects, social implications, and functional impact. Reducing DD would improve psychological effects, such as irritability (OR 3.6; 95%CI 1.5-8.5), frustration (OR 3.4; 95%CI 1.7-7.1) and concentration on everyday life (OR 3.3; 95%CI 1.4-7.7). The influence of the social implications and functional repercussions of the disease was greater in persons with DD (scores of 22.4 vs 20 and 10.6 vs 9.4, respectively) in terms of the difficulty in explaining symptoms to close friends and family (3.3 vs 2.9), and loss of independence (3.3 vs 2.9). In conclusion, this is the first study to analyze the psychosocial impact of diagnosis of RDs in Spain and one of few to assess it in the patients themselves, based on data drawn from a purpose-designed form from a national registry open to any RD. People affected by RDs who underwent DD experienced greater psychosocial impact than did those who were diagnosed within the space of one year.
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