Adjustment to multiple sclerosis: application of a stress and coping model

Health Psychol. 1999 Jul;18(4):383-92. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.18.4.383.


This study examined the use of a stress and coping model of adjustment to multiple sclerosis (MS). A total of 122 MS patients were interviewed and completed self-administered scales at Time 1 and 12 months later, Time 2 (n = 96). Predictors included stressful life events, illness (duration, severity, and disability), social support, appraisal (threat and control/challenge), and coping (problem focused and emotion [wishful thinking, self-blame, and avoidance] focused). Adjustment outcomes were Time 2 depression, global distress, social adjustment, and subjective health status. Results from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that after controlling for the effects of Time-1 adjustment, better Time-2 adjustment was related to less disability, greater reliance on problem-focused coping, and less reliance on emotion-focused coping. There was limited support for the stress buffering effects of coping and social support. Findings offer some support for the use of a stress and coping model of adaptation to MS.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*