Psychological functioning in primary progressive versus secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

Br J Med Psychol. 1998 Mar;71 ( Pt 1):99-106. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8341.1998.tb01370.x.


Psychological functioning in two types of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is assessed: primary progressive (PP) and secondary progressive (SP) patients. On the basis of differences in clinical course and underlying pathology we hypothesized that primary progressive patients and secondary progressive patients might have different psychological functioning. Seventy patients treated in an MS centre were examined cross-sectionally. Forty had an SP course of MS and 30 a PP course. The 33 male and 37 female patients had a mean age of 48.4 years (SD 11.2) and mean age of onset of MS of 30.7 years (SD 11.1). Patients completed questionnaires measuring among others the following aspects of psychological functioning: depression (BDI, SCL-90), anxiety (STAI, SCL-90), agoraphobia (SCL-90), somatic complaints (SCL-90), hostility (SCL-90) and attitude towards handicap (GHAS). Patients with a PP-MS scored significantly better on 5 out of 14 subscales than patients with SP-MS (p < .05). On the basis of our operationalizations of psychological functioning, the findings support the conclusion that on average 18 years after diagnosis of MS, amongst patients attending an MS unit, primary progressive patients were found to have better psychological functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia / diagnosis
  • Agoraphobia / psychology
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Sick Role*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology