Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Their Caregivers

Francesco Pagnini, Christian Lunetta, Paolo Banfi, Gabriella Rossi, Ksenija Gorni, Gianluca Castelnuovo, Massimo Corbo, Enrico Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large number of studies have investigated a variety of psychological aspects in people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but there is still considerable uncertainty concerning the actual morbidity, in particular for anxiety. We aim to evaluate depression levels and anxiety disposition in ALS patients and their caregivers, in comparison to healthy controls. We conducted a cross-sectional comparison between people with ALS, their caregivers and a non-clinical control group in order to evaluate anxiety and depression levels. 40 ALS patients, their caregivers and 40 healthy adult subjects completed the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Y2 scale (STAI). We compared overall and single item scores in order to find differences between the three groups. BDI-II scores were significantly different between groups. Depression scores were higher for patients than for healthy controls, in both somatic and psychological sub-scales. Caregivers presented higher levels of psychological depression in comparison with healthy controls, and lower scores of somatic depression in comparison to patients. No differences were found in trait anxiety levels comparing the three groups. ALS patients and their caregivers developed more depression related symptomatology than the non-clinical sample. However, susceptibility to anxiety for both patients and caregivers seemed to be at a normal level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Clinical psychology
  • Depression
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Neurodegenerative disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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