Depression study on HSPers

Condition found to be prevalent

Over half the population in a depression study of HSPers were diagnosed as depressed.


Three-quarters of those with depression had mild depression, with most of the rest having moderate depression.


A link was established between depression and mobility, with those least mobile experiencing worse depression.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of depression and sensitivity and specificity of the single-item interview ‘Are you depressed?’ for people with hereditary spastic paraplegia in Estonia.

DESIGN: Single-item interview ‘Are you depressed?’ was used as a screening question for depression; all participants then completed the Beck Depression Inventory.

SETTING: People with hereditary spastic paraplegia identified from the epidemiological database who agreed to participate in the study.

MAIN MEASURES: Beck Depression Inventory, clinical interview.

RESULTS: The epidemiological database consisted of 59 patients with clinically confirmed diagnosis of hereditary spastic paraplegia. Forty-eight of these consented to participate in the study. The Beck Depression Inventory score was higher than cut-off point in 58% (28/48) and lower in 42% (20/48). Of the study group, 44% (21/48) had mild, 13% (6/48) moderate and one person revealed severe depression. There was a statistically significant correlation between Beck Depression Inventory score and level of mobility; no other significant correlations with other measures were detected. Of the participants, 54% (26/48) had subjective complaints about depression and answered ‘Yes’ to the single-item interview ‘Are you depressed?’. The sensitivity of the one-item interview in the hereditary spastic paraplegia group was 75% and specificity 75%.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that mild depression is prevalent among people with hereditary spastic paraplegia. Although the single question may be helpful, it cannot be relied upon entirely when assessing a person for depression.

SOURCE: Clin Rehabil. 2009 Sep;23(9):857-61. Epub 2009 Jun 26

The prevalence of depression in hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Vahter L, Braschinsky M, Haldre S, Gross-Paju K.

Neurology Department, West-Tallinn Central Hospital, Tallinn and Institute of Psychology, University of Tallinn, Tallinn, Estonia. [email protected]