Mental and Physical Health Disparities in Patients With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Living With High Levels of Social Deprivation

Melissa A. Wright, Casey M. Beleckas, Ryan P. Calfee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: Social, mental, and physical health have a complex interrelationship with each influencing individuals’ overall health experience. Social circumstances have been shown to influence symptom intensity and magnitude of disability for a variety of medical conditions. We tested the null hypothesis that social deprivation would not impact Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) scores or objective health factors in patients presenting for treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Methods: This cross-sectional study analyzed data from 367 patients who presented for evaluation of CTS to 1 of 6 hand surgeons at a tertiary academic center between August 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Patients completed PROMIS Physical Function—v1.2, Pain Interference—v1.1, Depression—v1.0, and Anxiety—v1.0 Computer Adaptive Tests. The Area Deprivation Index was used to quantify social deprivation. Medical record review determined duration of symptoms, tobacco and opioid use, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) for each patient. Sample demographics, PROMIS scores, and objective health measures were compared in groups defined by national quartiles of social deprivation. Results: Patients with CTS living in the most deprived quartile had worse mean scores across all 4 PROMIS domains compared with those living in the least deprived quartile. A higher proportion of individuals from the most deprived quartile had a heightened level of anxiety than those in the least deprived quartile (37.3% vs 12.6%). The mean CCI was higher in the most deprived quartile, as was the proportion of individuals using tobacco. There were no differences in opioid use or symptom duration between patients from each deprivation quartile. Conclusions: Social deprivation is associated with worse patient-reported health measures in patients with CTS. Compared with those from the least deprived areas, patients from the most deprived areas also have a greater comorbidity burden and higher rates of tobacco use at presentation to a hand surgeon. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335.e1-335.e9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • social deprivation


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