Perceived neuropsychological impairment inversely related to self-reported health and employment in multiple sclerosis

M. B. D'hooghe, A. De Cock, R. H. B. Benedict, J. Gielen, A. Van Remoortel, P. Eelen, A. Van Merhaegen, J. De Keyser, M. D'Haeseleer, E. Peeters, G. Nagels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background and purpose: Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients frequently report cognitive difficulties which impact daily functioning. The objective was to investigate the relationship between patient-reported cognitive impairment and depression, demographic and MS-related variables, and to clarify its impact on self-reported health measures and employment. Method: A large two-centre survey included the MS Neuropsychological Screening Questionnaire (MSNQ), the two-question screening tool for depression, vitality, health-related quality of life, the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II and questions assessing social network satisfaction and employment status. Results: Of the 751 respondents (median age 54 years, median Expanded Disability Status Scale 5, 66.2% female), two-thirds reported perceived neuropsychological impairment or depressive symptoms. Whilst depressive symptoms were related to higher MSNQ scores, the MSNQ poorly predicted depression. After correcting for confounders, higher MSNQ scores and depressive symptoms decreased vitality, health-related quality of life and health-promoting behaviours and increased the probability of being socially dissatisfied. In participants below retirement age, higher MSNQ and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores increased the probability of unemployment, whilst depression did not. Conclusion: The contribution of the MSNQ to self-reported health measures and its unique explanatory power regarding unemployment suggest that subjective cognitive complaints are connected to subtle, yet meaningful, neuropsychological dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1447-1454
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • cohort study
  • depression
  • health economics
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuropsychology
  • quality of life


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