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Behav Res Ther. 2013 Oct;51(10):648-55. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2013.04.001. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Cognitive behaviour therapy for common mental disorders in people with Multiple Sclerosis: A bench marking study.

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  • 1Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, Room 1.17, James Clerk Maxwell Building, London, UK.



Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are common in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and are often under treated.


This paper reports on the clinical effectiveness of a cognitive behaviour therapy service for common mental disorders in people with MS and compares it to previous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in this population.


49 patients were deemed appropriate for CBT and 29 accepted treatment. Assessments were completed at baseline and end of treatment and included the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale. Results in the form of a standardized effect of treatment were compared with five previous RCTs.


The results from this clinical service indicated statistically significant outcomes with reductions in depression and anxiety. The uncontrolled effect size was large but inferior to those found in published RCTs.


Cognitive behaviour therapy is effective for people with MS in routine clinical practice. Possible limits on effectiveness include more liberal patient selection, lack of specificity in rating scales and heterogeneity of target problems. Given the high rates of distress in this population, routine psychological interventions within neurology services are justifiable. Future research should aim to maximise CBT in such settings.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cognitive behaviour therapy; Evaluation; Multiple Sclerosis

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