Spouse perceptions of patient self-reported vertigo severity and dizziness.



The present investigation was conducted in an effort to assess the level of congruence between patients and spouses for the patient's self-reported vertigo severity and dizziness handicap.

Study Design

Prospective study.


Fifty consecutive patients, and their spouses, evaluated in our Balance Disorders Laboratory in the Division of Vestibular Sciences.

Main Outcome Measures

Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), Spouse version of the DHI (DHI-SP), Vertigo Symptom Scale (VSS), Spouse version of the VSS (VSS-SP), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).


The mean DHI and DHI-SP total scores were not statistically different from one another (t49 = 1.58, p = 0.16) and were strongly correlated (r = 0.79, p < 0.01). The VSS and VSS-SP scores were statistically different (t49 = 2.33, p = 0.02) but were still moderately correlated (r = 0.56, p < 0.01). Spouses tended to overestimate vertigo severity. We observed an increase in the frequency of occurrence of clinically significant anxiety and depression not only in patients but in spouses as well. Furthermore, anxious patients tended to be married to anxious spouses, and depressed patients tended to be married to depressed spouses. Finally, the mean DHI scores were significantly greater for patients with clinically significant anxiety and/or depression, but the presence of patient anxiety and/or depression did not affect spousal congruence.


The results attest to the congruence of patient and spouse perceptions of vertigo severity and dizziness handicap.