Predicting quality of life in multiple sclerosis: accounting for physical disability, fatigue, cognition, mood disorder, personality, and behavior change

J Neurol Sci. 2005 Apr 15;231(1-2):29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2004.12.009. Epub 2005 Jan 26.


Health-related quality of life (HQOL) is poor in multiple sclerosis (MS) but the clinical precipitants of the problem are not well understood. Previous correlative studies demonstrated relationships between various clinical parameters and diminished HQOL in MS. Unfortunately, these studies failed to account for multiple predictors in the same analysis. We endeavored to determine what clinical parameters account for most variance in predicting HQOL, and employability, while accounting for disease course, physical disability, fatigue, cognition, mood disorder, personality, and behavior disorder. In 120 MS patients, we measured HQOL (MS Quality of Life-54) and vocational status (employed vs. disabled) and then conducted detailed clinical testing. Data were analyzed by linear and logistic regression methods. MS patients reported lower HQOL (p<0.001) and were more likely to be disabled (45% of patients vs. 0 controls). Physical HQOL was predicted by fatigue, depression, and physical disability. Mental HQOL was associated with only depression and fatigue. In contrast, vocational status was predicted by three cognitive tests, conscientiousness, and disease duration (p<0.05). Thus, for the first time, we predicted HQOL in MS while accounting for measures from these many clinical domains. We conclude that self-report HQOL indices are most strongly predicted by measures of depression, whereas vocational status is predicted primarily by objective measures of cognitive function. The findings highlight core clinical problems that merit early identification and further research regarding the development of effective treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition*
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Personality / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Life*