PSYCHOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: DEMENTIA, DEPRESSION AND PERSONALITY STRENGTHS (BODY-IMAGE, DEMORALIZATION, COGNITION, MEDICAL, LOCUS-OF-CONTROL)

FREDRICA R HALLIGAN, Fordham University

Abstract

A cross-sectional study of 60 multiple sclerosis outpatients, ranging in age from 24 to 72, assessed both neuropsychological and personality correlates in long-term degenerative disease. A comprehensive battery of tests was administered including subtests of the WAIS (Vocabulary, Similarities and Digit Span), the Raven matrices, memory tests (Wechsler Paired Associates, Benton Visual Retention) and a test for aphasia (Word Fluency). Personality measures included the Holtzman inkblots, PERI Demoralization Scale and a modification of the Rotter Locus of Control Scale. Results showed that cognitive functioning of MS patients varies considerably. There is a general mild decline that affects abstract reasoning and memory as the disease progresses. These deficits are usually not sufficient to impair occupational or social functioning. In addition there is spotty deterioration in certain cognitive functions for some patients (17%). Only a small subsample (6.7%), however, showed global deterioration significant enough to be highlighted by an Index of Dementia that was developed for this investigation.^ Personality characteristics of MS patients were studied from the standpoint of coping strategies and strengths. It was found that 20% of the patients were depressed; that depression was unrelated to gender; and it was negatively related to an internal locus of control. Patients who were able to maintain a sense of their own mastery, even when limited in areas for actual control, were less likely to be depressed. General locus of control was not affected by duration of the illness but there was a realistic decline in patients' estimation of the amount of control they had over disease-related processes. Late stage patients generally felt more dependent, less free to talk over their concerns with others, and more defeated than early stage patients did. Body image anxieties were found to peak in the two-to-four year period after diagnosis of the disease but were unrelated to depression. It appears that real physical degeneration may threaten unconscious manifestation of body integrity but that a firm body-image concept, which seems to increase with age and wisdom, may partially defend against this effect. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

HALLIGAN, FREDRICA R, "PSYCHOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: DEMENTIA, DEPRESSION AND PERSONALITY STRENGTHS (BODY-IMAGE, DEMORALIZATION, COGNITION, MEDICAL, LOCUS-OF-CONTROL)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521410.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521410

Share

COinS