Efficacy of a Telephone-Delivered Self-Management Intervention for Persons With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial With a One-Year Follow-Up

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Nov;96(11):1945-58.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.07.015. Epub 2015 Aug 6.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a telephone-delivered self-management intervention for fatigue, pain, and depression in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Design: Single-center, randomized (1:1), single-blind (outcome assessors), parallel-group trial with a primary endpoint of posttreatment (9-11 wk postrandomization) and long-term follow-up at 6 and 12 months.

Setting: Telephone-delivered across the United States.

Participants: Adults with MS (N=163) with fatigue, chronic pain, and/or moderate depressive symptoms (age range, 25-76 y).

Interventions: Eight-week individual telephone-delivered self-management intervention (T-SM) (n=75) versus an 8-week individual telephone-delivered MS education intervention (T-ED) (n=88).

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the proportion who achieved a ≥50% decrease in 1 or more symptoms-fatigue impact, pain interference, and/or depression severity. Secondary outcomes included continuous measures of pain, fatigue impact, depression, self-efficacy, activation, health-related quality of life, resilience, and affect.

Results: For our primary outcome, 58% of those in the T-SM group and 46% of those in the T-ED group had a ≥50% reduction in 1 or more symptoms; this difference was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 1.50; 95% confidence interval, .77-2.93; P=.238). Participants in both groups significantly improved from baseline to posttreatment in primary and secondary outcome measures (P<.05). T-SM participants reported significantly higher treatment satisfaction and therapeutic alliance and greater improvements in activation, positive affect, and social roles. Improvements were generally maintained at 6 and 12 months.

Conclusions: Both interventions resulted in short- and long-term, clinically meaningful benefits. The study demonstrated that the telephone is an effective method for engaging participants in care and extending the reach of rehabilitation for individuals with MS.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00944190.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Depression; Fatigue; Multiple sclerosis; Rehabilitation; Self care.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / rehabilitation
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Quality of Life
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Telephone*
  • United States

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00944190