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J Neurol Sci. 1998 Oct;160 Suppl 1:S114-21.

The psychological impact of MND on patients and carers.

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Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


Nineteen patients with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) who had been living with their partners for at least two years prior to the onset of their illness, together with their partners, completed self-report questionnaires to investigate the impact of MND on both patients and carers. Physical disability and impact of the illness on aspects of everyday functioning were related to levels of anxiety and depression in the patients; psychological coping strategies adopted depended to some extent on symptom duration. Carers also demonstrated signs of anxiety and depression, with the latter correlating with aspects of the patients' functional impairment. Perceived strain in carers over caring for the patient correlated with a loss in intimacy in their relationship, which in turn was predicted by patients' cognitive/behavioural and communication changes. Changes in patients' social performance also correlated with the extent to which carers felt that the illness was affecting other areas of their life, the extent to which their partner dominated their thoughts and the extent to which they could control their reactions when thinking about the patient. Satisfaction with formal services and the number of social groups to which carers belonged correlated with carers' self-predicted future ability to cope.

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