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J Neurol Sci. 2013 Jan 15;324(1-2):100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Lack of information about multiple sclerosis in children can impact parents' sense of competency and satisfaction within the couple.

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Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society, Department of Research, Genoa, Italy.


The psychosocial consequences for parents of children with MS have not been studied.


to assess aspects of coping with family crisis and individual states of distress in couples with a child with MS compared to couples of healthy children.


fifteen couples with a child with MS and 29 couples with healthy children were assessed using self-administered scales on anxiety, depression, coping, marital and family aspects, quality of life and MS knowledge.


parents of children with MS were less satisfied with their parenting role and had a lower sense of parenting competence than control parents. While their depression scores were higher than control parents, they scored within the normal range. Mothers of children with MS were more worried than fathers and were more likely to use diverse coping strategies. Less knowledge of MS was correlated with less satisfaction with the couple relationship and with the quality of communication. There was a correlation between limited knowledge about the child's illness and the overall sense of competence as a parent.


lack of information about MS can impact family functioning, anxiety and parents' sense of competency. Parents require support in becoming more knowledgeable about MS in order to feel competent and satisfied in their role and to cope successfully.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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