Depressive Symptoms and Functional Impairment Among Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients in South Korea


  • Hyunjin Oh PhD,

  • Mo-Kyung Sin DSN,

  • Karen G. Schepp PhD,

  • Smi Choi-Kwon PhD



Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease, resulting in physical and psychological distress. Little is known about the health of ALS patients in South Korea. The purpose of this study was to assess the degree of functional impairment and depressive symptoms and their interrelationships in Korean ALS patients.


In this cross-sectional descriptive study, a convenience sample of 62 ALS patients was recruited. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were used.


The mean score of ALSFRS was 18.98 and 24.50 for BDI. Severity of depressive symptoms was associated with gender, employment, perceived health status, and ALS type. A greater functional impairment was associated with greater depressive symptoms.


This study reports high prevalence of depressive symptoms in ALS patients. The findings add to the body of knowledge on emotional health and provide motives for interventions to promote mental health of these patients.