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Systemic sclerosis is a heterogenous disease in which little is known about patterns of patient-reported symptom clusters. We aimed to identify classes of individuals with similar anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain symptoms and to evaluate associated sociodemographic and disease-related characteristics.


This multi-centre cross-sectional study used baseline data from Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network Cohort participants enrolled from 2014 to 2020. Eligible participants completed the PROMIS-29 v2.0 measure. Latent profile analysis was used to identify homogeneous classes of participants based on patterns of anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain scores. Sociodemographic and disease-related characteristics were compared across classes.


Among 2212 participants, we identified five classes, including four classes with “Low” (565 participants, 26%), “Normal” (651 participants, 29%), “High” (569 participants, 26%), or “Very High” (193 participants, 9%) symptom levels across all symptoms. Participants in a fifth class, “High Fatigue/Sleep/Pain and Low Anxiety/Depression” (234 participants, 11%) had similar levels of fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain as in the “High” class but low anxiety and depression symptoms. There were significant and substantive trends in sociodemographic characteristics (age, education, race or ethnicity, marital or partner status) and increasing disease severity (diffuse disease, tendon friction rubs, joint contractures, gastrointestinal symptoms) across severity-based classes. Disease severity and sociodemographic characteristics of “High Fatigue/Sleep/Pain and Low Anxiety/Depression” class participants were similar to the “High” severity class.


Most people with systemic sclerosis can be classified by levels of patient-reported symptoms, which are consistent across symptoms and highly associated with sociodemographic and disease-related variables, except for one group which reports low mental health symptoms despite high levels of other symptoms and substantial disease burden. Studies are needed to better understand resilience in systemic sclerosis and to identify and facilitate implementation of cognitive and behavioural strategies to improve coping and overall quality of life.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.