Background: Demoralization, as assessed through the Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research–Demoralization (DCPR/D) interview or the Demoralization Scale (DS), has been found to affect about 30% of patients with medical disorders, while few studies have been done in patients with psychiatric disorders. Methods: A convenience sample of 377 patients with ICD-10 diagnoses of mood, anxiety, stress-related disorders or other non-psychotic disorders was recruited from two Italian university psychiatry centers. The DCPR/D interview and the Italian version of the DS (DS-IT) were used to assess demoralization and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to assess depression. Results: Demoralization was diagnosable in more than 50% of the patients. Factor analysis of the DS-IT indicated four main factors, Meaninglessness/Helplessness, Disheartenment, Dysphoria and Sense of Failure, explaining 62% of the variance of the scale. Patients with bipolar or unipolar major depression and personality disorders had the highest prevalence of demoralization (DCPR/D) and the highest scores on all the DS-IT factors in comparison with patients with adjustment or anxiety disorders. About 50% of patients with moderate demoralization (DS-IT) were not clinically depressed (PHQ-9 <10), while almost all with severe demoralization were depressed. Limitations: Prospective studies on larger samples with other psychiatric disorders, also taking into account subjective incompetence, are needed. Since the DCPR/D assesses demoralization as a categorical construct, a dimensional framework should be necessary. Conclusions: The findings enrich the research on demoralization, showing for the first time the importance of this construct, as measured by the DCPR/D and the DS-IT, in patients with psychiatric disorders.
- Adjustment disorders
- Affective disorders