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Stiff person syndrome (SPS) is a rare, chronic disorder characterized by painful spasm and stiffness. We investigated the quality of life (QoL) in SPS patients, and identified factors associated with impairment in patients' QoL. Twenty-four SPS patients (10 men, 14 women; mean age +/- S.D., 52.6 +/- 9.5 years) completed the medical outcomes study Short Form health survey (SF-36), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and a questionnaire asking for sociodemographic and clinical details. Extent of the disease was assessed using a distribution of stiffness score. SPS patients showed markedly reduced mean scores for all dimensions of the SF-36 when compared to norms from the general population of the United Kingdom. QoL scores showed a strong correlation with the extent of the disease. Depression was a common finding; 14 of 24 patients had depressive symptoms as evidenced by the BDI. There was a significant and strong correlation between the BDI score and several SF-36 subscores. This is the first study to address QoL in patients with SPS. We have shown that SPS has a significant impact on patients' reported QoL. The association between depression and QoL highlights the importance of recognizing and treating depression in SPS.

Original publication




Journal article


Mov Disord

Publication Date





1064 - 1067


Chronic Disease, Cost of Illness, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Quality of Life, Severity of Illness Index, Stiff-Person Syndrome