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



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


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


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


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).


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).


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

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