Racial differences in anxiety, depression, and quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Mental Health

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 2, P230-237, JUNE 01, 2021


Snigdha Alur-Gupta, M.D., M.S.C.E., Iris Lee, M.D., Anat Chemerinski, M.D., Chang Liu, B.A., Jenna Lipson, M.D., Kelly Allison, Ph.D., Robert Gallop, Ph.D., Anuja Dokras, M.D., Ph.D



To evaluate racial differences in the anxiety and depression prevalence and scores in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).




Academic institution.


Reproductive-aged women with PCOS (n = 272) and controls (n = 295).


Hospital anxiety and depression scale and modified PCOS quality-of-life survey (MPCOS-Q).

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Differences in depression and anxiety scores and quality-of-life score measured using the hospital anxiety and depression scale and MPCOS-Q were determined between White and Black women with PCOS. Multivariable correlation regressions assessed the association of the Ferriman-Gallwey score, total testosterone, body mass index (BMI), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance with anxiety, depression, and quality-of-life scores.


Multivariable regression controlling for age, BMI, and socioeconomic status showed that White women with PCOS had a significantly higher prevalence of anxiety than Black women with PCOS (75.9% vs. 61.3%) and significantly higher anxiety scores (mean ± SD, 10.3 ± 4.1 vs. 8.7 ± 4.6). The prevalence of depression (24.4% vs. 29%) and depression scores (4.8 ± 3.6 vs. 5.1 ± 4.0) was not significantly different. In multivariable correlation regressions, the interaction between BMI and race in its association with anxiety scores was significant. The association of race with Ferriman-Gallwey score, total testosterone, or homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance was not significant. In multivariable models, although the total MPCOS-Q scores were similar, the infertility domain was significantly lower in Black women with PCOS (mean ± SD, 12.6 ± 7.8 vs. 17.5 ± 6.8) indicating a lower quality of life related to infertility.


Racial differences identified in the prevalence of anxiety and MPCOS-Q domains suggest the importance of routine screening and provide an opportunity for targeted interventions based on race.

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