The role of social support, coping style and demoralization as contributing variables in the relationship between stressful life events and multiple sclerosis symptomatology

Lisa Ann Gerstein, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate and verify the reported positive relationship between stressful life events and changes in MS symptomatology. In addition, variables that might influence this relationship, specifically, social support, coping style and level of demoralization, were proposed and examined for the contribution they make to the stress-MS equation. Supplementary analyses were proposed in order to determine the how the variables combined to influence the outcome measure, change in health status.^ Sixty-six volunteer MS outpatients from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine agreed to participate in an initial interview and follow-up one year later. The independent variables were assessed via the Stressful Life Events Scale from the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview (PERI) Stress Due to MS Scale, Interpersonal Relations Scale, Coping with MS Scale, and Demoralization Scale (from the PERI). The dependent variable was assessed via the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).^ Tests of the primary hypotheses indicated that only stressful life events was significantly correlated with the outcome measure, change in EDSS. Among the variables, level of demoralization was significant correlated with both perceived social support and the use of problem-focused coping strategies. Perceived social support was significantly correlated with overall use of coping strategies, though not problem-focused strategies in particular. A discriminant function analysis indicated that all of the variables, with the exception of problem-focused coping, made a significant contribution to accurately predicting either a negative or positive/no change in health status.^ The current research indicates that stressful life events do exact a toll on the MS patient's health. However, the fact that additional variables contribute to the stress-MS equation indicates that these factors need to be taken into account in future research in the area. In addition, the research presented suggests the importance of attending to both social environment in the treatment and management of the MS patient. ^

Subject Area

Medicine|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Gerstein, Lisa Ann, "The role of social support, coping style and demoralization as contributing variables in the relationship between stressful life events and multiple sclerosis symptomatology" (1992). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9215348.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9215348

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