• Psychiatric symptom profiles predict functional impairment

      Tanner, J.; Zeffiro, T.; Wyss, D. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2019)
      Objective: Mental illness often interferes with daily functioning and an individual's pattern of psychiatric signs and symptoms may predict risk of future disability. Understanding the linkage between psychiatric symptoms and impaired functioning is critical for accurate rehabilitation planning and legal assessment. Here, we investigated the stability of functional impairment measures over 18 months and their association with psychiatric symptoms. Moreover, we developed a clinical self-report measure that allows estimation of functional impairment levels over 18 month observation periods. Methods: Consecutively treated outpatients and daycare patients (N = 155) from several psychiatric units in Switzerland completed the Dissociative Experiences Scale, Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire, Multidimensional Inventory for Dissociation, Beck Depression Inventory, Brief Symptom Inventory, and WHO Disability Assessment Schedule at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 month follow-up examinations. The association between symptoms functional impairment over time was investigated using longitudinal linear mixed models. Penalized regression was used to identify questionnaire items that best predicted functional impairment. Results: We found high stability in the extent of functional impairment over 18 months. Fear of negative evaluation, fatigue, concentration problems, negative alterations in mood, and dissociative symptoms showed the strongest association with functional impairment measures. The empirically derived scale for functional impairment prediction explained between 0.62 and 0.77 of the variance in disability across various life domains. Conclusion: Given the capability for somatic and mental symptoms associated with social anxiety, depression, and dissociation to predict future disability, these symptoms have strong potential for guiding rehabilitation planning and prognostic evaluation in insurance medicine. The Functional Impairment Prediction Scale may serve as a valuable, empirical-based extension in legal assessments of how work capacity is affected by psychological factors. Copyright 2019 Tanner, Zeffiro, Wyss, Perron, Rufer and Mueller-Pfeiffer.