PhD Graduates – Merkle

Diane Merkle, PhD
Spring 2012

“Pain, Depression, and Quality of Life:A Description of Factors Related to Venous Leg Wounds”

Venous leg wounds, lower extremity wounds that occur secondary to edema, affect up to 2.5 million people in the United States annually. It is estimated that chronic venous leg wounds (CVLW) affect 1 % of the Western population, with the average cost over a lifetime exceeding $40,000. CVLW can cause pain and disability and require significant long term nursing management and resources. Despite proper treatment, only 50 to 70% of people with CVLW are healed after six months. The problem of CVLW is also considerable because one third of those affected experience their first episode prior to age 40, with an annual recurrence rate reported to be up to 704.

Multiple physical, psychological, social and quality of life factors contribute to the chronicity of CVLW. Depression, reduced quality of life, and stress have all been shown to affect the ability of a person to heal a wound.

A clearer understanding of the relationships between physical, psychological, and social/ quality of life variables within a single sample of subject may identify correlates of leg wounds and guide future treatment. The hypothesis of this proposed research is that pain and wound severity, including wetness and odor, will be positively correlated to depression and inversely related to quality of life.

The aim of this proposed study is to describe wound severity and unpleasant symptoms in a sample with CVLW and the relationship to depression and quality of life. Demographic factors including wound duration and prop incidence will also be examined for correlation.

A descriptive, correlational design and regression analysis will be used to study the relationship of pain, wound severity, depression, quality of life, and demographic factors in a single population of people with CVLW

Diane Merkle-University of Connecticut, 2010

Pictured above (from left to right):
Dr. Deborah McDonald, Dr. Diane Merkle, Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, Dr. Carol Polifroni