Background: Prior studies of symptoms in heart failure (HF) were largely cross-sectional and symptoms were measured using retrospective recall. Because negative emotions influence information processing, retrospective symptom reports by patients with depressive symptoms and anxiety may be biased. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there are differences in patterns of symptom changes, measured prospectively, over 15 days by levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety.

Methods: HF patients (N=52) rated daily symptom severity for shortness of breath (SOB), fatigue, sleep disturbance, and edema over 15 days on a 10-point visual analogue scale. Patients were grouped into higher vs lower levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety, respectively, based on median scores of Brief Symptom Inventory subscales. Latent growth curve modeling was used to examine whether patterns of symptom changes over 15 days differed in higher vs lower levels of depressive symptom and anxiety groups.

Results: Those in the higher depressive symptom group had lower levels of baseline symptom severity in SOB (β: -1.46), fatigue (β: -1.71), sleep disturbance (β: -1.78), and edema (β: -1.97) than those in the lower depressive symptom group. However, there were no significant differences in rates of changes in the severity of any of the four symptoms between groups. Anxiety was not associated with baseline severity of symptoms or rates of changes in any of the four symptoms.

Conclusion: Depressive symptoms, but not anxiety, were associated with daily symptom experience. HF patients with higher levels of depressive symptoms may perceive their symptom severity differently than patients with lower levels of depressive symptoms.

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Published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management, v. 13.

© 2020 Lee et al.

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The National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (2016R1A2B4008495).

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