Factors Influencing the Quality of Life of Patients With Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
1Universitat de Girona, Institut de Recerca sobre Qualitat de Vida, Spain
2Hospital Santa Caterina (IAS) de Girona, Hospital de Dia de malalties neurodegeneratives i dany neurològic adquirit, Spain
3Cranfield University, United Kingdom
Background: To investigate the influence of a number of psychosocial and biological variables related to the quality of life in MS patients. Methods: The sample consisted of 49 MS patients (30.6 % men, mean age 39.5, SD 9.6), who were being treated in two hospitals in Girona (Spain) and agreed to take part in an 18 month long prospective cohort study. The number of relapses and pseudo-relapses, the degree of disability, the level of anxiety and depression, perceived stress, social support and controllability were measured at baseline and every 6 months. Demographic variables, the number of new brain lesions and quality of life were measured at the beginning and at the end of the study. Findings: Gender, the level of anxiety and depression and the number of pseudo-relapses were the variables most able to predict a reduction in the perceived quality of life after 18 months (R2 = 0.80 and p < 0.05). Being female, having had more pseudo-relapses and higher levels of anxiety and depression predicted a lower perceived quality of life. Discussion: These results identify the role a psychologist may play in improving patients’ perceived quality of life of, since three of the four significant factors were psychological. The results also highlight the specific needs of female MS patients.