Objective: To examine the association between UCLA loneliness questionnaire (ULQ) scores and motor and non-motor symptoms (NMS) and Quality of Life (QoL) in Parkinson Disease (PD) by a web-based survey administered during the COVID-19 restrictions.
Background: Loneliness and social isolation have recently been shown to be associated with worse motor and non-motor scores and QoL in PD. There has not been clear guidance on how to screen PWP for loneliness. A short screening tool that can be administered proactively could help clinicians identify at-risk and affected individuals and guide targeted social prescribing interventions.
Method: CAM Care PD is an ongoing web-based natural history study looking at modifiable variables associated with PD progression. Participants were administered a version of the questionnaire including a number of questions including the revised 8-question ULS for COVID time frame at 6-8 months into the pandemic during a time of social distancing and lockdown enforcement. All analyses were adjusted for age, gender, disease duration and income. QoL was measured using PROMIS Total and Patient-Reported Outcomes in PD (PRO-PD) was used to assess PD severity. Utility for the PD population was determined by identifying the variables with the largest linear regression coefficients between ULS questions and a priori outcome measures, adjusting for age, gender, years since diagnosis, and income.
Results: 1,024 participants with self-reported diagnosis of PD participated in the study. All 8 loneliness measures were associated with PD symptom severity as well as QoL. The items most strongly associated with patient-reported symptom severity were: “I feel left out,” “I find companionship when I want it,” and “I feel isolated from others.” The items most strongly associated with QoL were: “I feel left out,” “I am unhappy being so withdrawn, and “I feel isolated from others.”
Conclusion: Loneliness measures correlated with greater PD severity and worse QoL scores. These results suggest the ULS is a valid tool in PD and in particular, the statement “I feel left out” was the most highly correlated with both patient-reported PD symptom severity and QoL. Amidst a pandemic with social distancing and a growing body of evidence that loneliness is associated with worse PD outcomes, providers are encouraged to assess patients’ social health in clinic and these results provide a framework for how to do so.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:I. Subramanian, J. Farahnik, L. Mischley. Validation of the UCLA Loneliness Scale in Parkinson’s Disease During a Period of Social Distancing [abstract]. Mov Disord. 2021; 36 (suppl 1). https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/validation-of-the-ucla-loneliness-scale-in-parkinsons-disease-during-a-period-of-social-distancing/. Accessed November 29, 2023.
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MDS Abstracts - https://www.mdsabstracts.org/abstract/validation-of-the-ucla-loneliness-scale-in-parkinsons-disease-during-a-period-of-social-distancing/