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Mult Scler. 1997 Jun;3(3):191-6.

Coping with general and disease-related stressors by patients with multiple sclerosis: relationships to psychological distress.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73190, USA.


This study examined the relationships between coping styles and psychological distress in a non-institutionalized sample of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The MS sample completed a measure of psychological distress and identified coping strategies utilized for stressors that were disease-related and general in nature. They also self-reported their perceived efficacy of the coping strategies utilized for both stressors. Individuals with MS exhibited greater levels of depression and their indices of psychological distress than demographically matched controls but the patterns of coping strategies endorsed and the ratings of coping effectiveness were similar for the two groups. When coping with disease-related stressors, individuals with MS utilized coping strategies that were more emotion-focused and dependent but no less effective than when the same patients coped with general stressors. Within the MS group, high levels of psychological distress were positively correlated with the use of emotion-focused coping strategies, but were unrelated to the use of problem-focused strategies. Most individuals with MS individuals with MS appear to be able to modify their coping strategies to adopt to varying sorts of stressors.

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