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Health Psychol. 1999 Jul;18(4):376-82.

The psychosocial impact of multiple sclerosis: exploring the patient's perspective.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco 94115-1642, USA.


This study examined subjective patient experiences of the psychosocial consequences of multiple sclerosis (MS). Fifty patients were interviewed regarding the effects MS had on their lives and interpersonal relationships. These statements were collated and administered with a 5-point Likert scale to 94 MS patients. The responses were subjected to factor analysis. Three areas of subjective patient experience of the psychosocial consequences of MS emerged: demoralization, benefit-finding, and deteriorated relationships. Of particular interest was benefit-finding, which included a deepening of relationships, enhanced appreciation of life, and an increase in spiritual interests. Although benefit-finding was related to adaptive coping strategies such as positive reappraisal and seeking social support, it was unrelated to depression and was related to higher levels of anxiety and anger. These findings indicate that benefit-finding is a substantial and poorly understood part of the illness experience for MS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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