Quality of life and its assessment in multiple sclerosis: integrating physical and psychological components of wellbeing

Lancet Neurol. 2005 Sep;4(9):556-66. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(05)70166-6.


Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has been more intensively studied in multiple sclerosis (MS) than in any other neurological disorder. Traditional medical models of impairment and disability are an incomplete summary of disease burden. Quality of life can be thought of as the sum of all sources of satisfaction (including anticipated sources) minus all threats (including anticipated threats). Many psychosocial factors-including coping, mood, self-efficacy, and perceived support-influence the quality of life of patients with MS more than biological variables such as weakness or extent of MRI lesions. Neuropsychiatric complications such as cognitive impairment and fatigue are also important predictors, even in those patients in the early stages of the disease. We review generic and specific HRQoL measures to help clinicians choose the most appropriate therapies. Subjective (self-report) HRQoL measures may serve to alert clinicians to areas that would otherwise be overlooked. Studies of new interventions should include an assessment of HRQoL not just impairment or disability alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Fatigue
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*