Background: Mood problems affect many people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a group treatment based on cognitive behavioural principles.
Methods: People with MS were screened on the General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ-12) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD). Those identified with low mood were invited to take part in a randomized trial comparing the effect of attending an adjustment group with a waiting list control. Patients allocated to the adjustment group received six 2 h group treatment sessions. Outcomes were assessed 4 and 8 months after randomization, blind to group allocation.
Results: Of the 311 patients identified, 221 (71%) met the criteria for low mood and 151 (68%) agreed to take part. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to compare the two groups, correcting for baseline mood and disability. At 4 months, group allocation alone was a significant predictor of the primary outcome measure, the GHQ-12. At 8 months, group allocation alone was no longer a significant predictor for GHQ-12 scores, but it was when baseline GHQ-12 and Guy's Neurological Disability Scale scores were controlled for. Comparison of the area under the curve revealed significant differences between the groups for GHQ-12 (p = 0.003), HAD Anxiety (p = 0.013), HAD Depression (p = 0.004), Beck Depression Inventory (p = 0.001), MS Self-efficacy (p = 0.037) and MS Impact Scale Psychological (p = 0.012).
Conclusion: Patients receiving treatment were less distressed and had less depression and anxiety. There was some evidence of improved self-efficacy and a reduction of the impact of MS on people's lives.