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J Neurol Sci. 2012 Sep 15;320(1-2):85-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2012.06.023. Epub 2012 Jul 15.

Daily hassles reported by Dutch multiple sclerosis patients.

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  • 1National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Wagenstraat 25, 3142 CR Maassluis, The Netherlands.


There is growing evidence for the association between stress and relapse risk in multiple sclerosis (MS). The current study focuses on daily hassles, which by their chronic and accumulating nature can cause considerable psychosocial stress. The main aim was to investigate the frequency, associated distress and type of daily hassles encountered by Dutch MS patients from a large community-based sample. We further examined factors associated with high levels of psychosocial stress. Questionnaires concerning demographics, disease characteristics, physical functioning, daily hassles, fatigue, depression and anxiety were completed by 718 MS patients. Three patients younger than 18 were excluded, resulting in 715 patients. Compared with published norm data, more than 50% of the participants reported a high number of daily hassles (57.5%) and high levels of associated distress (55.7%). Frequently mentioned daily hassles concern personal functioning and social developments. A logistic regression model revealed that being female, being younger, having a higher educational level, using benzodiazepines, exhibiting more symptoms of anxiety, and a higher physical impact of fatigue were all independently associated with high levels of psychosocial stress. Our findings may alert clinicians of the high prevalence and impact of daily hassles in MS and underline the need to incorporate stress and anxiety management strategies in (psycho)therapeutic interventions.

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