Relationships Among Depressive Symptoms, Benefit-Finding, Optimism, and Positive Affect in Multiple Sclerosis Patients After Psychotherapy for Depression

Stacey L. Hart*, Lea Vella, David C. Mohr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: While many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience psychological problems, such as depression, benefit-finding is commonly reported. Using the Broaden-and-Build Model of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2001) and the Expectancy-Value Model of optimism (Carver & Scheier, 1998) as two related, yet, distinct conceptual frameworks, this study examined positive affect and optimism as mediators of the relationship between improved depression and enhanced benefit-finding. Design: MS patients (N = 127), who participated in a larger, randomized clinical trial comparing two types of telephone psychotherapy for depression, were assessed at baseline, midtherapy (8 weeks), end of therapy (16 weeks), and 6- and 12-month posttherapy. Main Outcome Measures: Depression was measured with a telephone administered version of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression; Positive Affect was measured with the Positive Affect Subscale from the Positive and Negative Affect Scale; Optimism was measured with the Life Orientation Test-Revised; Benefit-Finding was measured with the revised version of the Stress-Related Growth Scale. Results: Data were analyzed with multilevel random-effects models, controlling for time since MS diagnosis and type of treatment. Improved depression was associated with increased benefit-finding over time. The relationship between improved depression and benefit-finding was significantly mediated by both increased optimism and increased positive affect. Conclusion: Findings provide support to both theoretical models. Positivity appears to promote benefit-finding in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Keywords

  • benefit-finding
  • depression
  • multiple sclerosis
  • optimism
  • positive affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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