Health-Related Stigma as a Determinant of Functioning in Young Adults with Narcolepsy
Kapella, Mary C.
Berger, Barbara E.
Vern, Boris A.
Carley, David W.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
MetadataShow full item record
Symptoms of narcolepsy tend to arise during adolescence or young adulthood, a formative time in human development during which people are usually completing their education and launching a career. Little is known about the impact of narcolepsy on the social aspects of health-related quality of life in young adults. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between health-related stigma, mood (anxiety and depression) and daytime functioning in young adults with narcolepsy compared to those without narcolepsy. Young adults (age 18-35) with narcolepsy (N = 122) and without narcolepsy (N = 93) were mailed a packet that included questionnaires and a self-addressed postage paid envelope. The questionnaire included demographic information and a composite of instruments including the SF 36, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ), Fife Stigma Scale (FSS), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Variable associations were assessed using descriptive statistics, ANOVA, Mann-Whitney U Test, correlations, stepwise multiple regression and path analysis. Young adults with narcolepsy perceived significantly more stigma and lower mood and health-related quality of life than young adults without narcolepsy (p<0.01). Health-related stigma was directly and indirectly associated with lower functioning through depressed mood. Fifty-two percent of the variance in functioning was explained by the final model in the young adults with narcolepsy. Health-related stigma in young adults with narcolepsy is at a level consistent with other chronic medical illnesses. Health-related stigma may be an important determinant of functioning in young adults with narcolepsy. Future work is indicated toward further characterizing stigma and developing interventions that address various domains of stigma in people with narcolepsy.