Understanding hope in patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Physiotherapy. 2012 Dec;98(4):344-50. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Jun 17.


Objectives: To understand how patients with Multiple Sclerosis experience and express hope within a rehabilitation setting and use this information to help therapists in a clinical setting.

Design: One guided interview was undertaken.

Setting: Two locations were used for interviews: (1) a rehabilitation centre in Oxfordshire. (2) A meeting location for the MS society in London.

Participants: Eleven patients with Multiple Sclerosis were selected (54.5±8.8 years). Six patients were classified as being in the secondary progressive stage and 5 were classified as relapsing remitting phase.

Method: The patients selected were part of a 12-week Multiple Sclerosis rehabilitation program. One interview took place mid way through the rehabilitation program and immediately following the end of the rehabilitation program. The semi-structured interview comprised of 5 sub-sections. Categorical content analysis was used to analyse the results.

Results: Three main themes were identified that related to the paradox of chronic illness: (1) defiance and the patient (2) accepting the diagnosis and prognosis and (3) accepting deterioration. These themes provide a basis for the different types of hopes expressed by patients.

Conclusion: It is vital to understand the paradox of chronic illness as an expression common among patients with Multiple Sclerosis. This research illustrates the importance of listening to a patient's narrative during rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comprehension
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / rehabilitation*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / rehabilitation*
  • Prognosis
  • Rehabilitation Centers