Personality characteristics of multiple sclerosis patients: a Rorschach investigation

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2010 Sep;112(7):629-32. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2010.04.009.


Objective: There are many studies examining cognitive deficits in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), while significantly less attention has been given to emotional and personality changes. A chronic neurological disorder brings many life stresses and affects the patient's ability to cope with them. This study explored the personality characteristics in a sample of MS patients.

Methods: 51 MS patients (13 male and 38 female, mean age: 42.6 years, mean EDSS: 3.2). All participants were administered the Rorschach Test coded by the Comprehensive System.

Results: Our findings show that the patients in our sample perceive themselves as being less competent than others, at some cost to their self-esteem. A large percentage relies on an avoidant style of coping with problems.

Conclusion: These findings imply that MS patients might have special needs in terms of communication with healthcare providers, decision making and adherence to their treatment plans because of their simplifying style of information processing. We argue that it is important to consider personality as well as cognitive changes in neurological disorders such as MS.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Personality Tests*
  • Personality*
  • Rorschach Test*
  • Self Concept