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Rehabil Nurs. 2019 Jan/Feb;44(1):52-59. doi: 10.1097/rnj.0000000000000128.

Loneliness in Multiple Sclerosis: Possible Antecedents and Correlates.

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1
Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The prevalence and possible antecedents and correlates of loneliness in multiple sclerosis (MS) was examined.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional, comparative study of MS (n = 63) and healthy adults (n = 21).

METHODS:

Data were collected using self-reports of loneliness and antecedents and correlates and analyzed using inferential statistics.

FINDINGS:

Those with MS had significantly higher loneliness scores than healthy adults (p < .05), and this was explained by employment status. Possible antecedents included marital status (p < .05), upper extremity function (r= -.28, p < .03), social disability frequency (r= -.49, p < .00), social disability limitations (r= -.38, p < .00), and personal disability limitations (r= -.29, p < .03). Social disability frequency (beta = -.41, p < .001) and marital status (beta = -.23, p < .046) accounted for 25% of the variance in loneliness scores. Possible correlates included depression (r= .49, p < .00), cognitive fatigue (r= .34, p < .01), psychosocial fatigue (r= .30, p < .02), and psychological quality of life (r= .44, p < .00).

CONCLUSIONS:

We provide evidence of loneliness in persons with MS, and this is associated with possible antecedents (e.g., marital status and disability limitations) and correlates (e.g., depression and fatigue).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Loneliness should be recognized clinically as an important concomitant of MS.

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