A case-control study of psychosocial factors and their relationship to impairment and functionality in multiple sclerosis

J Health Psychol. 2019 Jul;24(8):1023-1032. doi: 10.1177/1359105317692142. Epub 2017 Feb 12.


The stress effect on multiple sclerosis remains unclear. Moderating psychosocial factors may be involved. This study compares some of them in people with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls, and their association with disease parameters. Coping style, social support, anxiety, alexithymia and early-life stress were measured, along with impairment and functionality. People with multiple sclerosis scored significantly higher on anxiety, alexithymia, and avoidance and instinctive coping but lower in social support. No differences were found in early-life stress. Impairment was related to avoidance, and functionality to avoidance and anxiety. Psychotherapeutic approaches focused on these psychosocial factors may improve functionality, impairment and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis.

Keywords: functionality; impairment; multiple sclerosis; psychosocial factors; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Behavioral Symptoms / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Social Support*