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Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Sensory Modulation, Psychological Distress, and Quality of Life in Young Adults in the General Population
Author Affiliations
  • Tel Aviv University
Article Information
Mental Health / Assessment/Measurement
Research Platform   |   July 01, 2015
Sensory Modulation, Psychological Distress, and Quality of Life in Young Adults in the General Population
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500084. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-RP201C
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911500084. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-RP201C
Abstract

Date Presented 4/17/2015

Psychological distress is a risk factor for mental health concerns. This study’s findings demonstrate reduced quality of life and elevated psychological distress within general population adults with sensory modulation disorder (SMD), hence validating the far-reaching claimed manifestations that SMD generates.

SIGNIFICANCE Sensory modulation disorder (SMD) often interferes with participation in daily life. Its impact on quality of life (QoL) has been documented in children and their families; however, there are only limited data on the effect of SMD on QoL and on psychological distress in nonreferred adults within the general population. This study is designed to examine sensory modulation and its relation to psychological distress and QoL in the general population of nonreferred young adults.
INNOVATION This study is the first to examine sensory modulation and its relation to psychological distress and QoL in the general population of nonreferred young adults. Understanding the interplay between these constructs could facilitate a more direct individualized therapy. Furthermore, results might serve in the prevention of mental health concerns.
APPROACH We hypothesized that adults within the general population that would be found with SMD will demonstrate elevated psychological distress and reduced QoL. Faulty sensory information processing could result in anxiety. Although anxiety and SMD have been found to be correlated, the relation between SMD and the broader concept of psychological distress has not been examined. Moreover, because there are only limited data on QoL and SMD as well as on psychological distress and QoL in individuals with SMD, this study is the first to examine psychological distress and QoL in adults with SMD. Our aim was to examine whether psychological distress symptoms characterize individuals with SMD and to determine whether significant differences exist between SMD and control individuals in QoL within the general population.
METHOD A general population sample of 204 adults, aged 23 to 40 yr (M = 27.4 yr, SD = 3.71), were administered (1) the Sensory Responsiveness Questionnaire—Intensity Scale (SRQ–IS), a measure of sensory responsivity; (2) the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), a measure of psychological distress; and (3) the Short Form—36, Version 2 (SF–36), a measure of QoL.
RESULTS In this general population sample, we found 12.75% with SMD (defined as >M + 2 SDs), whereas 87.25% served as the non-SMD group (M + 2 SDs). Gender distribution was not statistically significant between groups (p = .872). The SMD group showed significantly (p = .008) more distress symptoms (BSI total score) compared to the non-SMD group (M = 1.10, SD = 0.63; M = 0.80, SD = 0.49, respectively). The SF–36 yielded statically significant differences in the QoL physical health total score (p = .041). The SMD scored lower than non-SMD (M = 75.00, SD = 14.22; M = 80.30, SD = 11.78, respectively) but not for the QoL mental health total score (p = .184). Furthermore, using multivariate linear regression, we found that SRQ–IS and SF–36 scores are significant predictors of BSI scores (R = .64).
CONCLUSION Individuals in the general population scoring in the lowest 2% on a measure of SMD demonstrate more psychological distress symptoms and reduced QoL. Moreover, SMD and QoL were found to predict psychological distress because psychological distress is a risk factor associated with other mental health concerns.