The contribution of self-disclosure to the prediction of mood symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis

Curr J Neurol. 2021 Oct 7;20(4):214-221. doi: 10.18502/cjn.v20i4.8347.


Background: Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent psychological symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and have a significant impact on quality of life (QOL) and disability progression in the patients. Therefore, it is very important to find ways to reduce the impact of these disorders on patients with MS. The data suggest that self-disclosure may be beneficial in improving symptoms of depression and anxiety in many chronic diseases. Due to the scarcity of related studies, this cross-sectional research aimed to evaluate the relations between self-disclosure, anxiety, and depression in patients with MS. Methods: 112 patients with MS from several referral outpatient MS clinics participated in the study. Data were extracted using socio-demographic questionnaire to determine clinical variables and patient characteristics, Distress Disclosure Index (DDI) to assess self-disclosure, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to evaluate mood states, and Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) recorded by an experienced neurologist. Results: Multiple linear regression analysis with controlling disease variables demonstrated distress disclosure as an independent factor to predict anxiety and depression in the patients (P < 0.05). Results also presented a significant, positive relationship between hospitalization history and disability levels with anxiety and depression. These findings clearly state that these two variables can accurately predict a heightened state of anxiety and depression in patients with MS. Conclusion: This study provides empirical support for the positive role of disclosure in decreasing the negative emotions in MS. Further studies are needed to clarify the effects of disclosing MS in different cultural and situational contexts.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Mood; Multiple Sclerosis; Self-Disclosure.