Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. In addition to physical symptoms, complaints of depression and cognitive alterations are very common.
Objectives: To verify and analyze the relationship between symptoms of depression and attention performance in people with MS.
Methods: A quantitative study was performed with 41 people diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), aged between 23 and 58 years (Mean = 42.70, SD = 10.62 years), 14 men (34.1%) and 27 women (65.9%), with EDSS score from 0 to 6.5 (Mean = 3,09, SD = 2,10), time of diagnostic between 1 and 26 years (Mean = 10.09, SD = 6.67 years) and average education time of 14,48 years (SD = 2,64). For evaluation, an interview was conducted to collect data, and applied the BDI (Beck Depressions Inventory) and Attention tests. The SPSS software was used for data analysis.
Results: It was observed that 31,7% of the patients presented depression, being 17,1% mild, 12,2% moderate and 2,4% severe. It was noted that 20 patients (48.8%) presented alteration of sustained attention, 29 patients (70.7%) presented alteration of alternating attention and 27 patients (65.9%) presented alteration of divided attention. There was a marginal correlation between depression and EDSS scoring (p = 0.077). There were no significant correlations between depression and gender (p = 0.607), age (p = 0.304), time of diagnostic (p = 0.445) and education time (p = 0.341). Regarding the sustained attention performance, there was a positive correlation between depression and percentual of error (p = 0.009) and index of inconstancy (p = 0.012), and no significant correlation between depression and number of elements tracked (p = 0.993). There were no significant correlations between alternating (p = 0.166) and divided (p = 0.161) attention performance.
Conclusions: It is suggested from the results of this study that both depression and attentional alterations are very recurrent in people with MS, and there was relationship between depression and sustained attention performance in people with MS. There seems to be no relationship between depression and alternating & divided attention performance, as well as between gender, age, time of diagnostic and education time.