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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:128575. doi: 10.1155/2013/128575. Epub 2013 Nov 10.

Faith as a resource in patients with multiple sclerosis is associated with a positive interpretation of illness and experience of gratitude/awe.

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Quality of Life, Spirituality and Coping, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, 58313 Herdecke, Germany ; Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Universität Freiburg, 79098 Freiburg, Germany.


The aim of this cross-sectional anonymous survey with standardized questionnaires was to investigate which resources to cope were used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We focussed on patients' conviction that their faith might be a strong hold in difficult times and on their engagement in different forms of spirituality. Consecutively 213 German patients (75% women; mean age 43 ± 11 years) were enrolled. Fifty-five percent regarded themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R-S-), while 31% describe themselves as religious. For 29%, faith was a strong hold in difficult times. This resource was neither related to patients' EDSS scores, and life affections, fatigue, negative mood states, life satisfaction nor to Positive attitudes. Instead it was moderately associated with a Reappraisal strategy (i.e., and positive interpretation of illness) and experience of gratitude/awe. Compared to spiritual/religious patients, R-S- individuals had significantly (P < .0001) lower Reappraisal scores and lower engagement in specific forms of spiritual practices. The ability to reflect on what is essential in life, to appreciate and value life, and also the conviction that illness may have meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development was low in R-S- individuals which either may have no specific interest or are less willing to reflect these issues.

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